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IVc-th G'S.'^'I.^O. IHo 





HARVARD 
COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 



THE 
HIDDEN FORCE,^ 

A STORY OF MODERN JAVA 



IjOUIS COUPERUS 



THAN SLATED BV 

AUIXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS 




NEW YORK 
DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY 




THE WORKS OF LOUIS COUPERUS 

Translated by 
Alexander Teixeisa de Mattos 

THE BOOKS OF THE SMALL SOULS 

L Small Souls 

II. The Later Life 

III. The Twilight of the Souls 

IV. Dr. Adriaan 

Also 

Old People and the Things That Pass 

Ecstasy 

The Tour 

The Inevitable 

Majesty 

The Hidden Force 



THE 
.HIDDEN FORCE,/ 

A STORY OF MODERN JAVA 



LOUIS COUPERUS 



TKANSLAITD BY 

ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS 




NEW YORK 

DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY 

„1921 , 







'< 



DEC 3 1921 









Ck>mxaH*, 1921 
Br DODD, HEAO AND OOMPAITT, IVOL 



PUKTED IN U. S. A. 




TRANSLATOR'S NOTE 

This novel was written in the author's middle period, 
about twenty years ago. He tells me that, since then, 
life in the Dutch East Indies has undergone certain 
modifications, but none of very great importance. The 
habit among Dutch ladies of wearing native dress dur- 
ing the day has nearly died out. The relations between 
die ruling and the subject race are almost unchanged 
since the date of the story ( 1900) . 

I have retained the spelling of the Malay words as 
it stands in the original, with the exception that I have 
transliterated the Dutch phonetic oe into its English 
equivalent, u or oo. The other vowels are pronounced 
in the continental fashion. 

To each of these terms I have appended a foot-note 
when it first occurs ; and a full glossary of all the native 
words and phrases will be found at the end of the 
volume. 

Alexander Teixeira de Mattos 
Chelsea, 23 June, 1921 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 




CHAPTER I 

ill moon wore the hue of tragedy that evening. 

risen early, during the last gleams of daylight, 
semblance of a huge, blood-red ball, and, flaming 
sunset low down behind the tamarind-trees in the 

Laan,^ it was ascending, slowly divesting itself 

tragic complexion, in a pallid sky. A deadly 
ss extended over all things like a veil of silence, 
ugh, after the long mid-day siesta, the evening 
ere beginning without an intervening period of 
Over the town, whose white villas and porticoes 
iddled amid the trees of the lanes and gardens, 
I muffled silence, in the windless oppression of the 
ig air, as though the listless night were weary of 
izing day of eastern monsoon. The houses, from 

not a sound was heard, shrank away, in deathly 

% amid the foliage of their gardens, with the 

' spaced, gleaming rows of the great whitewashed 

-pots. Here and there a lamp was already lit. 

nly a dog barked and another answered, rending 

iffled silence into long, ragged tatters: the dogs' 

throats sounded hoarse, panting, harshly hostile ; 

[ley too suddenly ceased and fell silent 

the end of the Lange Laan the Residency lay far 

n its garden. Low and vivid in the darkness of 

UTngin-trees,' it lifted the zig-zag outline of its 

XK>fs, one behind the other, receding into the 

w of the garden behind it, with a primitive line 

eLonf Lane. 

dnd of ff-tree, resembling the banyan. 




2 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

that seemed to date it: a roof over each gallery an» 
verandah, a roof over each room, receding into on 
long outline of irregular roofs. At the front, howevei 
the white pillars of the front-verandah arose, with th 
white pillars of the portico, tall, bright and stately, witl 
wide intervals, with a large, welcoming spaciousness 
with an expansive and imposing entrance, as to J 
palace. Through the open doors the central gallery wa 
seen in dim perspective, running through to the back 
lit by a single flickering light. 

An oppasser^ was lighting the lanterns beside tb 
house. Semicircles of great white pots with roses an< 
chrysanthemums, with palms and caladiums, curve< 
widely in front of the house to right and left. A broac 
gravel-path formed the drive to the white-pillare< 
portico; next came a wide, parched lawn, surroundcc 
by flower-pots, and, in the middle, on a carved stont 
pedestal, a monumental vase, holding a tall latania 
The only fresh green was that of the meandering pond 
on which floated the giant leaves of a Victoria Regia 
huddled together like round green tea-tray^ with hen 
and there a luminous lotus-like flower between them 
A path wound beside the pond ; and on a circular spad 
paved with pebbles stood a tall flag-staff, with the flajj 
already hauled down, as at six o^clock every day. A 
plain gate divided the grounds from the Lange Laan. 

The vast grounds were silent. There were non 
burning, slowly and laboriously lit by the lamp-boy, on 
lamp in the chandelier in the front-verandah and cm 
indoors turned low, like two nightlights in a palaa 
which, with its pillars and its vanishing perspective d 
roofs, was somehow reminiscent of a child's dreani 

* Native office-messenger. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 3 

' steps of the office a few oppassers, in their dark 
tns, sat talking in whispers. One of them stood 
r a while and walked, with a quiet, leisurely step, 
ronze bell which hung high, by the oppassers^ 
at the extreme comer of the grounds. When he 
ached it after taking about a hundred paces, he 
d seven slow, reverberating strokes. The clap- 
uck the bell with a brazen, booming note; and 
troke was prolonged by an undulating echo, a 
thrilling vibration. The dogs began to bark 
The oppasser, boyishly slender in his blue cloth 
with yellow facings and trousers with yellow 
, slowly and quietly, with his supple step, re- 
his hundred paces to the other oppassers. 
light was now lit in the office and also in the 
ng bedroom, from which it filtered through the 
an blinds. The resident, a tall, heavy man, in a 
sicket and white duck trousers, walked across the 
jid called to the man outside : 
pasn 

chief oppasser, in his cloth uniform jacket, with 
de yellow hems to its skirts, approached with 
knees and squatted before his master. 
1 Miss Doddie." 

>s Doddie is out, kandjeng/'^ whispered the man, 
vith his two hands, the fingers placed together, 
ched the reverential gesture of the semba.^ 
lere has she gone ?" 

id not ask, kattdjeng,** said the man, by way of 
for not knowing, again with his sketchy semha. 

'ivc equivalent of the Dutch word opasser. 
fflency. 




4 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

The resident reflected for a moment Then he s 

"My cap. My stick." 

The chief oppasser, still bending his knees as the 
reverently shrinking into himself, scuttled across 
room and, squatting, presented the undress tmif 
cap and a walking-stick. 

The resident went out. The cWef oppasser htu 
after him, with a tali-api in his hand, a long, s 
burning wick, of which he waved the glowing 
from side to side so that the resident might be 
by any one passing in the dark. The resident wa 
slowly through the garden to the Lange Laan. A 
this lane, an avenue of tamarind-trees and flamboy; 
lay the villas of the more important townsfolk, fai 
lighted, deathly silent, apparently uninhabited, wit! 
rows of whitewashed flower-pots gleaming in 
vague dusk of the evening. 

The resident first passed the secretary's house: t 
on the other side, a girls' school; then the notx 
house, an hotel, the post-office and the house of 
president of the Criminal Court. At the end of 
Lange Laan stood the Catholic church ; and, f arthei 
across the river-bridge, lay the railway-station. I 
the station was a large Eiu-opean toko,^ which 
more brilliantly lighted than the other buildings, 
moon had climbed higher, turning a brighter silve 
its ascent, and now shone down upon the white bri 
the white toko, the white church, all standing roui 
square, treeless open space, in the middle of which 
a small monument with a pointed spire, the town cl 

The resident met nobody; now and tfien, hov/c 

an occasional Javanese, like a moving shadow, appe; 
^Bazaar, store. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 5 

the darkness ; and then the oppasser waved the 
g pomt of his match with great ostentation be- 
is master. As a rule, the Javanese understood 
ade himself small, cowering along the edge of 
id and passing with a scuttling gait. Now and 
an Ignorant native, just arrived from his dessa^ 
t understand, but went by, looking in terror at 
iasser, who just waved his match and, in passing, 
curse after the fellow behind his master's back 
e he, the dessaAout, had no manners. When a 
IH-oached or a sado,* he waved his little fiery star 
ind again through the darkness and made signs 
driver, who either stopped and alighted or 
:d in his little carriage and, so squatting, drove 
ig the farther side of the road, 
resident went on gloomily, with the smart step 
solute walker. He had turned off to the right of 
le square and was now walking past the Protes- 
lurch, straight toward a handsome villa adorned 
ender, fairly correct Ionian pillars of plaster and 
itly lighted with paraffin-lamps set in chandeliers, 
^s the Concordia Qub. A couple of native serv- 
white jackets sat on the steps. A European in a 
suit, the steward, passed along the verandah. 
lere was no one sitting at the great gin-and- 
•table ; and the wide cane chairs opened their arms 
mtly but in vain. 

steward, on seeing the resident, bowed ; and the 
it raised his finger to his cap, went past the club 
med to the left. He walked down a lane, past 
ttle houses, each in its own little demesne, turned 

hre villafre. 

f-cart. Sado is corrupted from dos^O'dos. 




6 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

off again and walked along the mouth of the kali,^ whidi 
was like a canal. Proa after proa lay moored to 
banks ; the monotonous humming of Maduran seam< 
crept drearily across the water, from which rose 
smell of fish. Past the harbour-master's office the n 
dent went to the pier, which projected some way 
the sea and at the end of which a small light-house, 111 
a miniature Eiffel tower, uplifted its iron form, like 
candlestick with its lamp at the top. Here the resid< 
stopped and filled his lungs with the night air. 
wind had suddenly freshened, the grongrong^ had rii 
blowing in from the offing, as it did daily at 
hour. But sometimes it suddenly dropped again, uni 
pectedly, as though its fanning wings had been strn 
powerless; and the roughened sea fell again, until 
curling, foaming breakers, white in the moonlight, w< 
smooth' rollers, slightly phosphorescent in long, 
streaks. 

A mournful and monotonous rhythm of dreary sii 
ing approached over the sea ; a sail loomed darkly, 
a great night-bird; and a fishing-proa with a hij 
curved stem, suggesting an ancient galley, glided 
the channel. A melancholy resignation to life, an 
quiescence in all the small, obscure things of earth 
neath that infinite sky, upon that sea of phosphoresi 
remoteness, was adrift in the night, conjuring up 
oppressive mystery. . . . 

The tall, sturdy man who stood there, with stradt 
legs, breathing in the loitering, fitful wind, tired 
his work, with sitting at his writing-table, with 
lating the rfttt/^w-question, that important matter, 

* River. 

" North-cast wind. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 7 

fition of the duit,^ for which the governor-general 
I made him personally responsible : this tall, sturdy 
a, practical» cool-headed, quick in decision from the 
g habit of authority, was perhaps unccxiscious of the 
•k m3rstery that drifted over the native town, over 
: capital of his district, in the night ; but he was con- 
txis of a longing for affection. He vaguely felt the 
tging for a child's arms around his neck, for shrill 
le voices about him, the longing for a young wife 
aiting him with a smile. He did not give definite 
nrssion to this sentimentality in his thoughts, it was 
t his custom to give way to reflections about his 
rsonal leanings : he was too busy, his days were too 
1 of interests of all kinds for him to yield to what he 
ew to be his intervals of weakness, the suppressed 
iillitions of his yotmger years. But, though he did not 
Jcct, the mood upon him was not to be thrown off, it 
IS like a pressure on his strong chest, like a morbid 
idemess, like a sentimental discomfort in the other- 
sc highly practical mind of this superior official, who 
IS strongly attached to his sphere of work, to his 
rritory, who had its interests at heart and in whom 
c almost independent power of his post harmonized 
itircly with his authoritative nature, who was ac- 
istomed with his strong lungs to breathe an atmos- 
icre of spacious activity and extensive, varied work 
en as he now stood breathing the spacious wind from 
e sea. 

A longing, a desire, a certain nostalgia filled him 
ore than usual that evening. He felt lonely, not only 

*Tbe dmii, or doit, was a coin of the Dutch East India Com- 
BT, a little lower in value than the cent, of which latter 'a 
ndred go to the guilder or fk)rin (i ^. 8d.). The survhral of the 
it cofnplicated the official accounts considerably. 




8 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

because of the isolation which nearly always surrounds 
the head of a native government, who is either ap- 
proached conventionally, with smiling respect, for pur- 
poses of conversation, or curtly, with official respect, 
for purposes of business. He felt lonely, though he 
was the father of a family. He thought of his big 
house, he thought of his wife and children. And he 
felt lonely and borne up merely by the interest whidi: 
he took in his work. That was the one thing in his lifej 
It filled all his waking hours. He fell asleep thinkii^J 
of it : and his first thought in the morning was of soM 
district interest. | 

At this moment, tired with casting up figures, bi 
ing the wind, he inhaled together with the coolness 
the sea its melancholy, the mysterious melancholy 
the Indian seas, the haimting melancholy of the s^ 
of Java, the melancholy that rushes in from afar 
whispering, mysterious wings. But it was not his 
ture to yield to mystery. He denied mystery. It 
not there: there was only the sea and the cool 
There was only the fragrance of that sea, a blend 
fish and flowers and seaweed, a fragrance which 
cool wind was blowing away. There was only 
moment of respiration; and such mysterious mel 
choly as he nevertheless, irresistibly, felt stealing 
evening through his somewhat slack mood he beli< 
to be connected with his domestic circle: he 
have liked to feel that this circle was a little more 
pact, fitting more closely aroimd the father and husbs 
in him. If there was any melancholy at all, it was tl 
It did not come from the sea, nor from the distant 
He refused to yield to any sudden sensation of 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 9 

marvelous. And he set his feet more firmly, flung out 
bis chesty lifted his fine, soldierly head and sniffei* up 
die sea's fragrance and the wind. . . . 

The chief oppasser, squatting with his glowing match 
in his hand, peeped attentively at his master, as though 
thinking: ''How strange, those Hollanders! . 
. . What is he thinking now ? . . . . Why is 
be bdbaving like this ? • • Just at this time 

and on this spot • . . . The sea-spirits are about 
now .... There are caymans imder the water 
ind every ca}mian is a spirit .... Look, they 
have been sacrificing to them there: pisatig^ and rice 
and deng-deng* and a hard-boiled egg on a little bam 
boo raft, down by the foot of the light-house . 
. What is the kandjeng tuan^ doing here ? . 
. It is not good here, it is not good here, tjelaka, 
ijelaka!^ . . . . " 

And his watching eyes glided up and down the back 
of his master, who simply stood and gazed into the dis- 
tance: What was he gazing at? ... . What 
did he see blowing up in the wind ? . . . . How 
strange, those Hollanders, how strange! .... 

The resident turned, suddenly, and walked back ; and 

the oppasser, starting up, followed him, blowing on the 

tip of his match. The resident walked back by the same 

road ; there was now a member sitting in the club, who 

greeted him ; and a couple of young men were strolling 

in the Lange Laan. The dogs were barking. 

* Bananas. 

' Heces of meat dried tn the sun. 

'Excellency Sahib. 

—Woe, wocr 




10 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

When the resident approached the entrance to the 
residency, he saw at the front, at the other entrance, 
two white figures, a man and a girl, who vanished into 
the darkness under the waringins. He went straight 
to his office: another oppasser came up and took his 
cap and stick. Then he sat down at his writing-table. 
He had time for an hour's work before dinnen 



i 

i 



I 




CHAPTER II 

Several fights were burning. Really the lamps had 
been lit everywhere ; but in the long, broad galleries it 
was only just light. In the grounds and inside the 
house there were certainly no fewer than twenty or 
thirty paraffin-lamps burning in chandeliers and lan- 
terns; but they gave no more than a vague, yellow 
twilight glimmering through the house. A stream of 
moonshine floated over the garden, making the flower- 
pots gleam brightly and shimmering in the pond ; and 
the waringins were like soft velvet against the luminous 
sky. 

The first gong had sounded for dinner. In the front- 
verandah a yotmg man was swinging up and down in a 
rocking-chair, with his hands behind his head. He was 
bored. A young girl came along the middle gallery, 
humming to herself, as though in expectation. The 
house was furnished in accordance with the conven- 
tional t)rpe of up-cotmtry residencies, with common- 
place splendour. The marble floor of the verandah was 
white and glossy as a mirror ; tall palms stood in pots 
between the pillars; groups of rocking-chairs stood 
round marble tables. In the first inner gallery, which 
ran parallel with the verandah, chairs were drawn up 
against the wall as though in readiness for an eternal 
reception. The second inner gallery, which ran from 
front to back, showed at the end, where it opened into 
a cross-gallery, a huge red satin curtain falling from a 
gilt cornice. In the white spaces between the doors of 




12 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

the rooms hung either mirrors in gilt frames, resting 
on marble console-tables, or lithographs — ^pictures as 
they call them in India— of Van Dyck on horseback, 
Paul Veronese received by a doge on the steps of a 
Venetian palace, Shakspeare at the court of Elizabeth 
and Tasso at the court of Este ; but in the biggest space, 
in a crowned frame, hung a large etching, a portrait of 
Queen Wilhelmina in her coronation-robes. In the 
middle of the central gallery was a red ^atin ottoman, 
topped by a palm. Furthermore many chairs and tables ; 
everywhere great chandeliers. Everjrthing was very 
neatly kept and distinguished by a commonplace pomp, 
an uncomfortable readiness for the next reception, wiöi 
not a single home-like comer. In the half-light of the 
paraffin-lamps— one lamp was lit in each chandelier— 
the long, wide, spacious galleries stretched in tedious 
vacancy. 

The seccxid gong sounded. In the back-verandah 
the long table — ^too long, as though always expecting 
guests— was laid for three persons. The sper^ and 
half-a-dozen boys stood waiting by the servers* tables 
and the two sideboards. The spen at once began to fil! 
the soup-plates ; and two of the bo)rs placed the three 
plates of soup on the table, on the top of the folded nap- 
kins which lay on the dinner-plates. Then they waited 
again, while the soup steamed gently. Another boy 
filled the three tumblers with large lumps of ice. 

The girl came in, humming a tune. She might be 
seventeen arid resembled her divorced mother, the resi- 
dent's first wife, a good-looking nonna* who was now 
living in Batavia, where she was said to keep a quiet 

* Butler. 

' Daughter of a European father and a native mother* 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 13 

fig-house. The young girl had a pale olive com- 
on, sometimes just touched with a peach-like blush : 
lad beautiful black hair, curling naturally at the 
les and fastened in a very heavy coil ; her black 
Is with the sparkling irises floated in a moist blue- 
e over which her thick lashes flickered up and 
1, down and up. Her mouth was small and a little 
and her upper lip was just shadowed with a dark 
of down. She was not tall and was already too 
formed, like a hasty rose that has bloomed too 
. She wore a white piqué skirt and a white linen 
» with lace insertions ; and roimd her throat was a 
It yellow ribbon that accorded well with her olive 
r, which sometimes flushed up, suddenly, as with a 
of warm blood. 

le young man came satmtering in from the f ront- 
idah. He was like his father, tall, broad and f air- 
d, with a thick, fair moustache. He was barely 
ty-three, but looked quite five years older. He 
I a suit of white Russian linen, but with a shirt- 
r and tie. 

in Oudi jck also came at last : his determined step 
Dached as if he were always busy, as if he were 
ng just to have some dinner in between his work, 
^en does mamma arrive to-morrow?" asked 

it half-past eleven," replied Van Oudi jck; and 
ng to his body-servant behind him. "Kario, re- 
bcr that the njonja besar^ is to be fetched at the 
« at half-past eleven to-morrow." 
''es, kandjeng/* murmured Kario. 
le fish was served. 

rcBl kdy, great mem-sahib. 




14 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

"Doddie," asked Van Oudijck, "who ws^ with you 
at the gate just now ?" 

"At ... the gate?" she asked slowly, with a 
very soft burr. 

"Yes." 

"At ... the gate? • . . Nobody, . 
. Theo perhaps." 

'Were you at the gate with your sister ?" asked Van 
Oudijck. 

The boy knitted his thick, fair eyebrows: 

"Possibly . . . don't know . . . Don't 
remember. 

They were all three silent They hurried through din- 
ner; sitting at table bored them. The five or six ser- 
vants, in white baadjes^ with red linen facings, moved 
softly on their flat toes, waiting quickly and noiselessly. 
Steak and salad was served, a pudding, followed by 
dessert 

"Everlasting rumpsteak !" Theo muttered. 

"Yes, that kokkier* laughed Doddie, with her little 
throaty laugh. "She always gives steak, when mamma 
not here ; doesn't matter to her, when mamma not here. 
She has no imagination. Too bad though !'" 

They had been twenty minutes over their dinner 
when Van Oudijck went back to his office. Doddie and 
Theo sauntered towards the front of the house. 

"Tedious," Doddie yawned. "Come, we play bil- 
liards?" 

In the first inner gallery, behind the satin hanging, 
was a small billiard-table. 

* Sleeved jackets of white or lilac striped cotton. 
■Cook. 

• These clipped sentences may be taken to represent the DutcH 
spoken by the half-castes in Java. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 15 

''Gmie along/' said Theo. 

They played. 

'Why am I supposed to have been with you at the 
gatcr 

"Oh . . . tut!" said Doddie. 

-•WcU,whyr 

"Papa needn't know." 

**Who was with you? Addie?" 

"Of course !" said Doddie. "Say, band playing to- 
night ?'" 

•T think so." 

"Come, we go, yes?" 

•'No, I don't care to." 

•'Oh, why not?" 

"I don't want to." 

"Come along now?" 

"No." 

"With mamma . . . you would, yes?" said 
Doddie, angrily. "I know very well. With mamma 
you go always to the band." 

"What do you know . . . you little minx !" 

"What do I know?" she laughed. "What do I know ? 
I know what I know." 

"Hoof" he said, to tease her, fluking a cannon. 
"You and Addie, hoo!" 

"Well . . . and you and mamma !" 

He shrugged his shoulders: 

"You're mad." 

"No need to hide from me. Besides, every one says." 

"Let them say." 

"Too bad of you though !" 

"Oh, go to the devil!" 




16 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

He flung his cue down in a temper and went towards 
the front of the house. She followed him : 

"I say, Theo . . . don't be angry now. Come 
along to the band." 

"No." 

'Til never say it again/* she entreated, coaxingly. 

She was afraid that he would ccmtinue to be angry 
and then she would have nothing and nobody, then she 
would die of boredom. 

"I promised Addie and I can't go by myself. . . " 

"Well, if you won't make any more of those idiotic 
remarks . . ." 

"Yes, I promise. Theo dear, yes, come then. . 



9» 



She was already in the garden. 

Van Oudijck appeared on the threshold of his office, 
which always had the door open, but which was sepa- 
rated from the inner gallery by a large screen. 

"Doddie !" he called out. 

"Yes, papa?" 

"Will you see that there are flowers in mamma's room 
to-morrow?" 

His voice was almost embarrassed and his eyes 
blinked. 

"Very well, papa ... I'll see to it" 

"Where are you going to ?" 

"With Theo . . . to the band." 

Van Oudijck became red and angry: 

"To the band ? But you might have asked my leave 
first !" he exclaimed, in a sudden rage. 

Doddie pouted. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 17 

"I don't like 3rou to go out, without my knowing 
where you go. You were out this afternoon too, when 
I wanted you to come for a walk with me." 

"Well, sudah} then!" said Doddie, bursting into 
tears. 

"You can go if you want to," said Van Oudijck, 
"but I insist on your asking me first." 

"No, I don't care about it now," said Doddie, in 
tears. *'Sudah! No band." 

They could hear the first strains in the distance, com- 
ing from the Concordia garden. 

Van Oudijck returned to his office. Doddie and 
Theo flung themselves into two rocking-chairs in the 
verandah and swung furiously to and fro, skating with 
the chairs over the smooth marble. 

**Come," said Theo, 'let's go. Addie expects you." 

"No," she pouted. "Don't care. I'll tell Addie to- 
morrow papa so unkind. He spoils my pleasure. And 
. . . ni put no flowers in mamma's room." 

Theo grinned. 

"Say," whispered Doddie, "that papa . . . eh ? 
So in love, alwa)rs. He was blushing when he asked me 
about the flowers." 

Theo grinned once more and hummed in unison with 
the band in the distance. 

* "It doesn't matter.* 




CHAPTER III 

Next morning Theo went in the landau to fetch his 
stepmother from the station at half-past eleven. 

Van Oudijck, who was in the habit of taking the 
police-cases at that hour, had made no suggestion to 
his son ; but, when from his office he saw Theo step into 
the carriage and drive oflf, he thought it nice of the 
boy. He had idolized Theo as a child, had spoilt him 
as a lad, had often come into conflict with him as a 
young man; but the old paternal fondness still often 
flickered up in him, irresistibly. At this moment he 
loved his son better than Doddie, who had main- 
tained her sulky attitude that morning and had put no 
flowers in his wife's room, so that he had ordered Kario 
to see to them. He now felt sorry that he had not said 
a kind word to Theo for some days and he resolved 
really to do so again at once. The boy was scatter- 
brained: in three years he had been employed on at 
least five different coffee-plantations ; now he was once 
more without a berth and was hanging around at hom^ 
looking out for something else. 

Theo had not long to wait at the station before the 
train arrived. He at once saw Mrs. van Oudijck and 
the two little boys, Rene and Ricus — two little sinjos,^ 
contrasted with himself — ^whom she was bringing back 
from Batavia for the long holidays, and her maid, 
Oorip. 

Theo helped his stepmother to alight; the station- 
master offered a respectful greeting to the wife of his 

* Sons of a European father and a nattve mother. 



] 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 19 

resident She nodded in return, with her queenly smile. 
Still smiling, a trifle ambiguously, she allowed her step- 
son to kiss her on the cheek. She was a tall woman, 
with a fair complexion and fair hair ; she had turned 
thirty and possessed the languid dignity of women born 
in Java, daughters of European parents on both sides. 
She had something that attracted attention at once. It 
was because of her white skin, her creamy complexion, 
her very light fair hair, her strange grey eyes, which 
were somtimes a little pinched and always wore an 
ambiguous expression. It was because of her eternal 
smile, sometimes very sweet and charming and often 
insufferable and tiresome. One could never tell at the 
first sight of her whether she concealed anything be- 
hind that glance, whether there was any depth, any soul 
behind it, or whether it was merely a matter of looking 
and laughing, both with that slight ambiguity. Soon, 
however, one perceived an observant indifference in 
her smiles, as though there were very little that she 
cared for, as though it would hardly matter to her 
should the heavens fall, as though she would watch the 
event with a smile. 

Her gait was leisurely. She wore a pink piqué skirt 
and txdero, a white satin ribbon round her waist and a 
white sailor-hat with a white satin bow ; and her sum- 
mer travelling-costume was very smart, compared with 
that of a couple of other ladies on the platform, loung- 
ing in stiffly starched washing-frocks that looked like 
night-dresses, with tulle hats topped with feathers? 
And, in her very European aspect, perhaps that leisure- 
ly walk, that languid dignity was the only Indian* char- 

* By India the Dutch mean the Dutch East Indies and mainly 
Izrx, 



20 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

actcristic that distinguished her from a woman newly 
arrived from Holland. 

Theo had given her his arm and she let him lead her 
to the carriage, the "chariot," followed by the two dark 
little brothers. She had been away two months. She ' 
had a nod and a smile for the station-master ; she had 
a nod for the coachman and the groom ; and she took 
her seat slowly, a languid, white sultana, still smiling. 
The three step-sons followed her into the carriage : the 
maid rode behind in a dog-cart. Mrs. van Oudijck 
looked out once or twice and thought Labuwangi un- 
changed. But she said nothing. She drew herself in 
again slowly and leant bade. Her face displayed a 
certain satisfaction, but especially that radiant, laugh- 
ing indifference, as though nothing could harm her, 
as though she were protected by a mysterious force. 
There was something strong about this woman, some- 
thing powerful in her sheer indifference: there was . 
something invulnerable about her. She looked as 
though life would have no hold on her, neither on her 
complexion nor on her soul. She looked as though she 
were incapable of suffering; and it seemed as though 
she smiled and were thus contented because no sick- 
ness, no suffering, no poverty, no misery existed for ^ 
her. An irradiation of glittering egoism encompassed ^ 
her. And yet she was, for the most part, lovable. She ' 
was charming and prepossessing because she was so 
pretty. This woman, with her sparkling self-satisfac- 
tion, was loved, whatever people might say about her. 
When she spoke, when she laughed, she was disarming < 
and, even more, engaging. This was despite and, per- 
haps, just because of her unfathomable indifference. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 21 

le took an interest only in her own body and her own 
111: all the rest, all the rest was totally indifferent to 
r. Unable to give anything of her soul, she had 
vcr felt anything save for herself ; but she smiled so 
acefully and enchantingly that she was always 
ou^t lovable, adorable. It was perhaps because of 
e contour of her cheeks, the strange ambiguity in her 
ance, her ineffaceable smile, the elegance of her 
[arc, the tone of her voice and her knack of always 
tting cm the right word. If at first one thought her 
suiFerable, she did not notice it and simply made her- 
If absolutely charming. If any one was jealous, she 
d not notice it and just praised intuitively, in- 
ffcrently — for she did not care in the least — some- 
ing in which that other had thought herself de- 
cent She could admire with the sweetest expression 
I her face a dress which she thought hideous; and, 
cause she was so completely indifferent, she betrayed 
> insincerity afterwards and did not gainsay her admi- 
tion. Her vital power was her unbounded indiffer- 
cc. She had accustomed herself to do everything 
at she felt inclined to do, but she smiled as she did it ; 
id, however people might talk behind her back, she 
mained so correct in her behaviour, so bewitching, 
at they forgave her. She was not loved while she was 
It seen ; but, so soon as people saw her, she had won 
ick all that she had lost. Her husband worshipped her ; 
T step-children — she had no children of her own — 
luld not help being fond of her, involuntarily; her 
rvants were all under the influence of her charm. 
ic never grumbled : she gave an order with a word 
id the thing was done. If something were wrong, if 




22 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

I 
something was broken, her smile died away for a mo- 
ment • . . and that was all. And, if her own 
moral or physical interests were in danger, she was 
generally able to avoid the danger and settle things 
to her advantage, without even allowing her smile to 
fade. But she had gathered this personal interest so 
closely about her that she could usually control its cir- 
cumstances. No destiny seemed to weigh upon this 
woman. Her indifference was radiant, was absolutely 
indifferent, devoid of contempt, or envy, or emotion: 
it was merely indifference. And the tact with which ^ 
instinctively, without ever giving much thought to it, \ 
she guided and ruled her life was so great that possibly 
if she had lost everything that she now possessed — her 
beauty, her position, for instance — she would still be 
able to remain indifferent, in her incapacity for suffer- 
ing. 

The carriage drove into the residency-grounds just as j 
the police-cases were beginning. The Javanese magis- ^ 
trate, the chief djaksa, was already with Van Oudijck 
in the office ; the djaksa and the police-oppassers led the | 
procession of the accused: the natives tripped along, i 
holding one another by a comer of their baadjes; but 
the few women among them walked alone. They all ' 
squatted in waiting under a waringin-tree, at a short ^ 
dfstance from the steps of the office. An oppasser, 
hearing the clock in the verandah, struck half-past 
twelve on the great bell by the lodge. The loud stroke 
reverberated like a brazen voice through the scorching 
mid-day heat. But Van Oudijck had heard the sound ' 
of the carriage-wheels and let the chief djaksa wait: ^ 
he went to welcome his wife. His face brightened: he 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 23 

her tenderly, eflfusivdy, asked how she was. He 
was g^d to see the boys back. And, remembering what 
he had been thinking about Theo, he found a kind word 
for his first-bom. Doddie, still wearing her full little 
sulking mouth, kissed mamma. Mrs. van Oudijck 
allowed herself to be kissed^ resignedly, smilingly ; she 
returned the kisses calmly, without coldness or warmth, 
just doing what she had to do. Her husband, Theo and 
Doddie admired her perceptibly and audibly, said that 
she was looking well; Doddie asked where mamma 
had got that pretty travelling-dress. In her room she 
noticed the flowers and, as she knew that Van Oudijck 
always saw to these, she gently stroked his arm. 

The resident went back to his office, where the chief 
djaksa was waiting ; the hearing began. Pushed along 
by a police-oppasser, the accused came one by one and 
squatted on the steps, outside the office-door, while the 
djaksa squatted on a mat and the resident sat at his 
writing-table. During the first case. Van Oudijck was 
still listening to his wife's voice in the middle gallery, 
when the prisoner defended himself with a cry of: 

"Bofnl Boffir^ 

The resident knitted his brows and listened attentive- 
ly. .. . 

The voices in the middle gallery ceased. Mrs. van 
Oudijck had gone to take off her things and to put on 
sarong and kabaai* for lunch. She wore the dress 
gracefully: a Solo sarong, a transparent kabaai, jew- 

«•Vo! Nor 

'The sarong is the native skirt ; the kahaai, or kabaja, is a long 
native jacket, generally white, with embroidery, when worn t^ 
Dutch ladies. The two until lately formed the usual indoor dress 
of Dtttch women in Java until they changed for dinner; but of 
recent years it has gone out of date. 




24 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

died pins ; white leather slippers with a little white bow. 
She was just ready when Doddie came to her door and 
said: 

"Mammal Mammal • . • Mrs. van Does is 
here!" 

The smile died away for a moment; the soft eyes 
looked dark. 

"I'll come at c«ice, dear . . ." 

But she sat down instead ; Oorip, the maid, sprinkled 
some scent on her handkerchief. Mrs. van Oudijck 
put up her feet and lay musing, after the fatigue of her 
journey. She found Labuwangi desperately dull after 
Batavia, where she had spent two months sta)ring with 
relations and friends, free and unenciunbered by obli- 
gations. Here, as the wife of the resident, she had 
certain duties, though she delegated most of them to the 
secretary's wife. She felt tired in herself, out of sorts, 
dissatisfied. Despite her complete indifference, she was 
human enough to have her silent moods, in which she 
wished ever)rthing to the bottom of the sea. At ojic 
time she suddenly longed to do something mad, at an- 
other she vaguely longed for Paris. • . . She would 
never let any one see all this. She was able to contrd 
herself ; and she controlled herself now, before making 
her reappearance. Her vague Bacchantic longings ] 
melted away in her fatigue. She stretched herself out 
at greater ease. She mused, with eyes almost closed. 
Through her almost superhuman indifference a curious 
fancy sometimes crept, hidden from the world. She 
preferred to live in her bedroom her life of perfumed 
imagination, especially after her month in Batavia. Ï 
After one of those months of perversity, she felt a need 
to let her vagrant, rosy imaginings rise like a curling 



i 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 25 

I mist before her half -closed eyes. There was in her 

I otherwise utterly barren soul as it were an unnatural 

I growth of little azure flowers, which she cherished with 

\ the only feeling that she could ever experience. She 

^ felt for no living creature, but she felt for those little 

flowers. It was delicious to dream like this of what she 

would have liked to be if she were not compelled to be 

what she was. Her fancies rose in a whirling mist: 

she saw a white palace, with cupids everywhere. . . . 

^ ''Mamma ... do come ! Mrs. van Does is 
here, Mrs. van Does, with two jam-pots. . . . " 

It was Doddie, at the door. Leonie van Oudijck 
stood up and went to the back-verandah, where the 
Indian lady was sitting, the wife of the postmaster. 
She kept cows and sold milk. But she also drove other 
trades. She was a stout woman, rather dark-skinned, 
with a prominent stomach ; she wore a very simple little 
kahacd with a narrow band of lace round it ; and she sat 
stroking her stomach with her two hands. In front of 
her, on the table, stood two small jam-pots, with some- 
thing glittering in them. What was it, Mrs. van 
Oudijck wondered: sugar, crystals? Then she sud- 
denly remembered. . . . 

Mrs. van Does said that she was glad to see her again. 
Two months away from Labuwangi. Too bad, Mrs. 
van Oudijck ! And she pointed to the jam-pots. Mrs. 
van Oudijck smiled. What was inside them ? 

With a great air of m5rstery, Mrs. van Does laid a 
fat, double-jointed forefinger oa one of the jam-pots 
and said: 




26 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

Vnten^ntenr^ 

"Oh, really?" said Mrs. van Oudijck. 

Doddie, wide-eyed, and Theo, greatly amused, 
stared at the jam-pots. 

"Yes . . . you know • • . that lady's, of 
whom I spoke to you. . . . She doesn't want her 
name mentioned. Kassian^ her husband once a great 
swell . . . and now . . . yes, so unfortu- 
nate ; she has nothing left ! All gone. Only these two 
little jam-pots. Had all her jewels tmset and keeps the 
stones in the jam-pots. All counted. She trusts them I 
to me to sell. EÏiow her through my milk-business. I 
Will you look at, Mrs. van Oudijck, yes? Lovely 
stones! The residèn he buy for you, now you back 
home, again. Doddie, give me a bit of black stuff: 
velvet best. . , ." 

Doddie sent the djait^ to fetch a bit of black velvet 
from a cupboard of odds and ends. A boy brought 
glasses with tamarind-syrup and ice. Mrs. van Does, 
holding a little pair of tongs in her double-jointed 
fingers laid a couple of stones carefully on the velvet: 

"Ah !" she cried. "Look at that water, mevrouw !* 
Ser-per-len-did !" 

Mrs. van Oudijck looked on. She gave her most 
charming smile and then said, in her gentle voice: 

"That stone is not real, dear mevrouw." 

"Not real ?" screamed Mrs. van Does. **Not real ?" 

Mrs. van Oudijck looked at the other stones: 

"And those others, mevrouw/' stooping attentively; 

* Diamonds. 

■ "Poor thing.'' 

■ Seamstress. 
'Madam. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 27 

I her most charming tones, "those others . . . 

: real either/* 

. van Does looked at her with delight Then 

d to Doddie and Theo, archly : 

at mamma of yours . . . pinterl^ She sees 

ir 

she laughed aloud. They all laughed. Mrs» 
yes replaced the crystals in the jam-pot: 
joke, yes, mevrouw? I only wanted to see if 
iderstood. Of course you'll take my word for 
^ould never sell. . . . But there • . . 



f9 



now solemnly, almost religiously, she opened 
ler little jam-pot, which contained only a few 

and placed them lovingly on the black velvet. 
It one would be splendid . • . for a /^on- 
said Mrs. van Oudijck, gazing at a very large 
t 

ïre, what did I tell you?'* said the Indian lady, 
they all gazed at the diamonds, at the real ones, 
came out of the "real" jam-pot, and held them 
!fully to the light. 

van Oudijck saw that they were all real: 
ïally have no money, dear mevrouw !" she said. 
is big one . . . for a Icontine . . . 
idred guilders.* ... A bargain, I assure 
evrouw !" 

, mevrouw, never!" 

w much then? You are doing a charity if you 
'^assian, her husband once a great swell. Indian 
I.** 

•rwd r 

\&fs watch-chain. 




28 THE HIDDEN FORCE 



"Kassian! What next? Two hundred guilders!'* 

"Two hundred and fifty, but no more. I really have 
no money." 

"The residèn!" whispered Mrs. van Does, catching 
sight of Van Oudijck, who, now that the cases were 
finished, was coming towards the back-verandah. "The 
residèn ... he buy for you !" 

Mrs. van Oudijck smiled and looked at the sparkling 
drop of light on the black velvet. She liked jewels» 
she was not altogether indifferent to brilliants. And 
she looked at her husband: 

"Mrs. van Does is showing us a lot of beautiful 
things," she said, caressingly. 

Van Oudijck felt an inward shock. He was never 
pleased to see Mrs. van Does in his house. She alwajrs 
had something to sell: at one time, batik^ counter- 
panes; at another time, a pair of woven slippers; at 
another, magnificent but very expensive table-slips, 
with gold batik flowers on yellow glazed linen. Mrs. 
van Does always brought something with her, was 
always in touch with the wives of erstwhile "great 
swells," whom she helped by selling their things on a 
very high commission. A morning call from Mrs. van 
Does cost him each time at least a few rijksdaalder^ 
and very often fifty guilders, for his wife had a calm 
habit of always buying things which she did not need 
but which she was too indifferent to refuse to buy of 
Mrs. van Does. He did not see the two jam-pots at 
once, but he saw the drop of light on the black velvet 

^ Batik is a method of painting cotton and other texttires, by 
which they are coated with hot wax before the application of the 
paint 

• A riJJssdaalder is a dollar, or 4s. 2d. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 29 

and he understood that the visit would cost him more 
than fifty guilders this time, tmless he was very firm: 

**Mevrouwt je 1"^ he exclaimed, in dismay. **It's the 
end of the month: there's no question of buying bril- 
liants to-day I And jam-pots full too !" he added, with 
a stare, when he now saw them glittering on the table, 
among the glasses of tamarind-syrup. 

''Oh, that residènr laughed Mrs. van Does, as 
diougfa a resident were botmd to be always well off. 

Van Oudijck hated that little laugh. His household 
cost him every month a few odd htmdred guilders 
above his salary ; and he was living beyond his income, 
was in debt His wife never troubled herself with 
money matters ; for these more especially she reserved 
her most smiling indifference. 

She made the diamond sparkle in the sun and shoot 
forth a blue ray. 

"It's a beauty . . . f or two hundred and fifty," 
said Mrs. van Oudijck. 

"For three hundred then, dear mevrouw. . . ." 

"Three hundred ?" .she asked, dreamily, playing with 
the jewel. 

Whether it cost three hundred or four or five hun- 
dred was all one to her. It left her wholly indifferent. 
But she liked the stone and meant to have it, at what- 
ever price. And therefore she quietly put the stone 
down and said: 

**No, dear mevrouw, really . . . it's too expen- 
sive; and my husband has no money." 

She said it so prettily that there was no guessing her 
intention. She was adorably self-sacrificing as she 

' litUe madam, dear lady. 




30 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

spoke the words. Van Oudijck felt a second inward 
shock. He could refuse his wife nothing: 

"Mevrouw," he said, "you can leave the stone 
. . . for three hundred guilders. But for God's 
sake take your jam-pots away with you !" 

Mrs. van Does looked up delightedly: 

"There, what did I tell you ? I knew for certain the 
residèn would buy for you ! . . ." 

Mrs. van Oudijck looked up in gentle reproach: 

"But, Otto!" she said: "How can you?" 

"Do you like the stone ?" 

"Yes, it's beautiful. • . . But such a lot of 
money ! For one brilliant !" 

And she drew her husband's hand towards her and 
suffered him to kiss her on the forehead, because he had 
been permitted to buy her a three-hundred-guilder 
diamond. Doddie and Theo stood winking at each 
other. 




CHAPTER IV 

Léonie van Oudijck always enjoyed her siesta. She 
only slept for a moment, but she loved after lunch to 
be alone in her cool bedroom till five or half-past five. 
She read a little, mostly the magazines from tiie circu- 
lating library ; but as a rule she did nothing but dream. 
Her dreams were vague imaginings, which rose before 
her as in an azure mist during her afternoons of soli- 
tude. Nobody knew of them and she kept them very 
secret, like a secret vice, a sin. She committed herself 
much more readily — ^to the world — ^where her liaisons 
were concerned. These never lasted long ; they counted 
for little in her life; she never wrote letters; and the 
favours which she granted afforded the recipient no 
privileges in the daily intercourse of society. Hers was 
a silent, correct depravity, both physical and moral. 
For her imaginings too, however poetic in an insipid 
way, were depraved. Her pet author was CatuUe 
Mendès: she loved all those little flowers of azure 
sentimentality, those rosy, affected little cupids, with 
one little finger in the air and their legs gracefully 
hovering aroimd the most vicious themes and motives 
of perverted passion. In her bedroom hung a few en- 
gravings: a young woman lying on a lace-covered bed 
and being kissed by two sportive angels ; another: a lion 
with an arrow through its breast at the feet of a smiling 
maiden ; lastly, a large coloured advertisement of some 
scent or other: a sort of floral n)miph whose veils were 
being drawn on every side by playful little cherubs, of 



32 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

the kind which we see on soap-boxes» This one in 
particular she thought splendid; she could imagine 
nothing with a greater aesthetic appeal. She knew that 
the plate was mcuistrous, but she had never been aUe 
to prevail upon herself to take the horrible thing down» j 
though it was looked at askance by everybody: her j 
friends, her step-childroi» all of whom walked in and 
out of her room with the Indian casualness which 
makes no secret of the toilet She could stare at it for 
minutes on end, as though bewitched; she thought it 
most charming; and her own dreams resembled that 
print She also treasured a chocolate-box with a keep^ 
sake picture c«i it, as the type of beauty which she ad- 
mired, even above her own: the pink flush on the 
cheeks, the brown eyes under unconvincing golden hair, 
the bosom showing through the lace. But she never 
committed herself in respect of this absurdity, which 
she vaguely suspected ; she never spoke of these prints 
and boxes, just because she knew that they were hide- 
ous. But she thought them lovely, she thought them 
delightful, she thought them artistic and poeticaL 

Those were her happiest hours. 

Here, at Labuwangi, she dared not do what she did 
at Batavia ; and here, at Labuwangi, people hardly be- 
lieved what people at Batavia said. Nevertheless, Mrs. 
van Does averred that this resident and that inspector — 
the one travelling for his pleasure, the other on an 
official circuit — staying for a few days at the residency 
had found their way in the afternoon, during the siesta, 
to Leonie's bedroom. But all the same at Labuwangi 
any such actual occurrences were the rarest of inter- 
ludes between Mrs. van Oudijck's rosy afternoon 
visions. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 33 

itUl, this afternoon it seemed as though, after doz- 
a little while and after all the dullness caused by 
journey and the heat had cleared away from her 
k-white comidexion, as though, now that she was 
long at the romping angels of the scent-advertise- 
nt, her thoughts were no longer dwelling on those 
y, tender, doll-like forms and as though she were 
ening to the sounds outside. ... 
5he was wearing nothing but a sarong, which she 
1 pulled up under her arms and hitched in a twist 
OSS her breast Her beautiful fair hair htmg loose. 
T pretty little white feet were bare: she had not 
m put on her slippers. And she looked through the 
ts of the shutters. 

Between the flower-pots which, standing on the side- 
ps of the house, masked her windows with great 
sses of foliage, she could see an annexe consisting 
four rooms — the spare-rooms— one of which was 
eo's. 

She stood peering for a moment and then opened 
; shutter ajar. And she saw that the shutter of 
eo's room also opened a little way. . • . 
rhen she smiled ; she knotted her sarong more closely 
1 lay down upon the bed again. 
She listened. 

[n a moment she heard the gravel grating slightly 
ler the pressure of a slipper. Her shutters, without 
ng closed, were drawn to. A hand now opened them 
itioasly. . . 
She looked round smiling: 
What is It, Theo?" she asked. 
He came nearer. He was dressed in pyjamas and 




34 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

he sat on the edge of the bed and played with her soft 
white hands ; and suddenly he kissed her fiercely. 

At that instant a stone whizzed through the bedroom. 

They both started, looked up and stood for a moment 
in the middle of the room: 

"Who threw that?" she asked. 

"One of the boys, perhaps," he said, **René or Ricus, 
playing about outside. 

They aren't up yet. 

'Or something may have fallen from above. 

"But it was thrown. . . ." 

'A stone so often gets loose, 

'But this is gravel. 

She picked up the little stone. He looked outside 
cautiously: 

"It's nothing Léonie. It must really have fallen out 
of the gutter . . . and then jumped up again. 
It's nothing." 

"I'm frightened," she murmured. 

He laughed almost aloud and asked : 

"But why?" 

They had nothing to fear. The room lay between 
Léonie's boudoir and two large spare-rooms, which 
were reserved exclusively for residents, generals and 
other highly-placed officials. On the other side of the 
middle gallery were Van Oudijck's rooms — his ofike 
and his bedroom — ^and Doddie's room and the room of 
the boys, Ricus and Rene. Leonie was therefore iso- 
lated in her wing, between the spare-rooms. It made 
her cynically in$olent At this hour, the grounds were 
quite deserted. For that matter, she was not afraid of 
the servants. Oorip was wholly to be trusted and often 
received handsome presents: sarongs; a gold pend- 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 35 

g;^ a long diamond kabaai-pm, which she wore as a 
welled silver i^aque on her breast As Léonie never 
umbled, was generous in advancing wages and dis- 
aycd an apparently easy-going temperament — ^al- 
Dugh everytliing always happened as she wished — ^she 
as not disliked; and, whatever the servants might 
low about her, they had never yet betrayed her. It 
ade her all the more insolent A curtain hung before 
[)assage between the bedroom and boudoir ; and it was 
ranged, once and for all, between Theo and Léonie 
at, at the least danger, he would slip away quietly 
:hind that hanging, go out through the garden-door 
' the boudoir and pretend to be looking at the rose- 
ees which stood in the pots on the steps. This would 
ake it appear as though he had just come from his 
vn room and were merely inspecting the roses. The 
ner doors of the boudoir and bedroom were usually 
eked, because Léonie declared frankly that she did 
>t like to be interrupted unawares. 
She liked Theo, because of his fresh youthfulness. 
nd here, at Labuwangi, he was her only vice, not 
«unting a passing inspector and the little pink angels. 
he two were now like naughty children ; they laughed 
ently, in each other's arms. It was past four by this 
nc ; and they heard the voices of René and Ricus in 
e garden. They were taking possession of the 
ounds for the holidays. They were thirteen and 
urteen years old ; and they enjoyed the garden. They 
n about barefoot, in blue striped pyjamas, and went 
look at the horses, at the pigeons ; they teased Dod- 
e's cockatoo, which tripped about on the roof of the 
ithouses. They had a tame badjing.^ They hunted 

* Clasp, buckle. 

• Squirrel. 




36 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

tokkès,^ which they shot with a sumpitan,* to the great 
vexaticMi of the servants, because the tokkès bring luck. 
They bought katjang-goreng^ at the gate of a passing 
Chinaman and then mocked him, imitating his accent: 
"Katja^ang golengan!*^ . . , Tjina ntampoost"* 
They climbed into the flamboyant and swung in the 
branches like monkeys. They fltmg stones at the cats; 
they incited the neighbours' dogs to bark themselves 
hoarse and bite one another's ears to pieces. They 
splashed about with the water in the pond, made them- 
selves impresentable with mud and dirt and dared to 
pluck the Victoria Regias, which was strictly forbidden. 
They tested the bearing-power of the flat, green 
Victoria-leaves, which looked like tea-trays, and tried 
to stand on them and tumbled in. Then they took 
empty bottles, set them in a row and bowled at them 
with pebble-stones. Then, with bamboos, they fished 
up all sorts of imspeakable floating things from the 
ditch beside the house and threw them at each other. 
Their inventive fancy was inexhaustible ; and the hour 
of the siesta was their special hour. They had caught 
a tokkè and a cat and were making them fight each 
other; the tokkè opened its jaws, which were like a 
small crocodile's, and hyjMiotized the cat, which sliuik 
away, withdrawing from its enemy's beady, black eyes, 
arching its back and bristling with terror. And aiter 
that the boys ate themselves ill with unripe mangoes. 

Leonie and Theo had watched the fight between the 
cat and tokkè through the slats of the shutter and now 

* Geckos, large-headed lizards. 

* Blow-pipe. 
•Roasted monkey-nuts. 

* Katjang-goreng, as above. The Chinese sound the V as 'T* 
and add "an" to many Malay words in their dialect 

•"Chinaman dead!" This is a term of abuse. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 37 

lie boys quietly eating the unripe mangoes on the 
But it was now the hour when the prisoners, 
e in ntunber, worked in the grounds, under the 
-vision of a dignified old mandoor,^ with a little 
in his hand. They fetched water in tubs and 
ring-cans made out of Devoe's* paraffin-tins, some- 
in the actual paraffin-tins themselves, and watered 
lants, the grass and the gravel. Then they swept 
pounds with a loud rustle of KJi^-brooms. 
né and Ricus, behind the mandoor^s back, for they 
afraid of him, threw half-eaten mangoes at the 
ners and called them names and made faces and 
aces at them. Doddie appeared after her nap, 
ing her cockatoo on her wrist. It cried, "Kaka! 
a!" and raised its yellow crest with swift move- 
s of the neck. 

id Theo now stole behind the curtain into the bou- 
md, at a moment when the boys were running and 
arding each other with mangoes and when Doddie 
strolling towards the pond with the loitering gait 
he swing of the hips peculiar to the Creole, he came 
behind the plants, smelling at the roses and behav- 
5 though he had been walking in the garden before 
\ to take his bath. 

?ersefr. 

Ehitch oil-purveyor. 
>oo-nut-fibre. 




CHAPTER V 

Van Oudijck felt in a more pleasant mood than he 
had felt for weeks: his house seemed to have recovered 
after those two months of dull boredom; he thought 
it jolly to see his two rascals of boys romping round 
the garden, even though they did all sorts of mischief ; 
and above all he was very glad that his wife was back. 
They were now sitting in the garden, in undress, 
drinking tea, at half-past five. It was very strange, but 
Leonie at once filled the great house with a certain 
home-like feeling of comfort, because she liked comfort 
herself. At other times Van Oudijck would hurriedly 
swallow a cup of tea which Kario brought him in his 
bedroom: to-day this afternoon-tea made a pleasant 
break in the day ; cane chairs and long deck-chairs were 
placed outside, in front of the house ; the tea-tray stood 
on a cane table ; there was pisang goreng;^ and Leonie, 
in a red silk Japanese kimono, with her fair hair hang- 
ing loose, lay back in a cane chair pla)ang with Doddie's 
cockatoo and feeding it with pastry. It was different 
at once. Van Oudijck thought: his wife so sociable, 
charming, pretty, telling scraps of news about their 
friends in Batavia, the races at Buitenzorg, a ball at the 
Viceroy's, the Italian opera; the boys merry, healthy 
and jolly, however dirty they might make themselves in 
playing. He called them to him and romped with them 
and asked them about the Gymnasium* — ^they were 
both in the second class — ^and even Doddie and Theo 
seemed different to him: Doddie was now plucking 

' Roasted bananas. 
•Grammar-school. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 39 

is from the potted trees, looking delightfully pretty 
htimming a tune; and Theo was communicative 
ti mamma and even with him. A pleased expression 
ftd aroimd Van Oudijck's moustache. He looked 
ng in the face, hardly showed his forty-eight years. • 
had a quick, bright glance, a way of looking up 
denly with an acutely penetrating air. He was 
ler heavy of build, with a tendency to become 
vier still, but yet he had retained a soldierly brisk- 
s and he was indefatigable on his circuits: he was a 
t-rate horseman. Tall and powerfully built, con- 
: with his house and his family, he wore a pleasant 
3f robust virility and that jovial laughing expression 
und his moustache. And, letting himself go, 
tching himself at full length in his cane chair, he 
nk his cup of tea, gave utterance to the thoughts 
ch generally welled up in him at such moments of 
sfacticMi. Yes, it was not a bad life in India/ when 
was said, in the B.B.* At least it had always been 
d for him ; but then he had been pretty lucky. Pro- 
ion nowadays was a desperate business: he knew 
number of assistant-residents who were his con- 
poraries and who had no chance of becoming resi- 
ts for years to come. And that certainly was a 
jerate position, to continue so long in a subordinate 
:c, to be compelled at that age to hold one's self at 
orders of a resident. He could never have stood 
t forty-eight ! But to be a resident, to give orders 
lis own initiative, to rule so large and important a 
rict as Labuwangi, with such extensive coffee- 
itations, with such numerous sugar-factories, with 

rhe Dutch always speak of tHc Dutch East Indies— Java, 

atra, Celebes, etc.— as India. 

Th€ Binnenhndsch Bestuur, or mland admmistratioiL 




v. 



40 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

so many leased concessions: that was a delight, that 
was living, that was a life grander and more spacious 
than any other, a life with which no life or position 
in Holland was to be compared. His great responsi- 
bility delighted his authoritative nature. His activities 
were varied: office work and circuit; the interests of 
his work were varied : a man was not bored to death 
in his office-chair ; after the office there was out-of-door 
life ; and there was always a change, always something 
different. He hoped in eighteen months to become a 
resident of the first class, if a first-class residency fell 
vacant: Batavia, Samarang, Surabaya, or one of the 
Vorstenlanden/ And yet it would go to his heart to 
leave Labuwangi. He was attached to his district, 
for which he had done so much during the past five 
years, which in those five years had attained its highest 
prosperity, in so far as prosperity was possible in these 
times of general depression, with the colonies poor, the 
population impoverished, the coffee-crops worse than 
ever, sugar perhaps threatened with a serious crisis in 
two years' time. India was in a languishing condition ; 
and even in the industrial Oosthoek* inertia and lack 
of vitality were spreading like a blight ; but still he had 
been able to do much for Labuwangi. During his ad- 
ministration the people had thrived and prospered ; the 
irrigation of the corn-fields was excellent, after he had 
succeeded in tactfully winning over the engineer, who 
at first was always in conflict with the B.B. Miles and 
miles of steam tramways had been laid do^vn. The 
secretary, his assistant-residents, his controllers were 
his willing coadjutors, though he kept them hard at 

* The native states of Surakarta and Djokjokarta are known af 
the Vorstenlanden, or Principalities. 
•The eastern portion of Java. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 41 

work. But he had a pleasant way with them, even 
though the work was hard. He knew how to be jolly 
and friendly with them, resident though he was. He 
was glad that all of them, his controllers, his assistant- 
residents, represented* the wholesome, cheerful time of 
B.B. official, pleased with their life, liking their work, 
though nowadays given much more than formerly to 
study in the Government Almanack and the Colonial 
List with a view to their promotion. And it was Van 
Oudijck's hobby to compare his officials with the ju- 
dicial functionaries, who did not represent the same 
ImoyBnt type: there was always a slight jealousy and 
animosity between the two orders. . . . Yes, it was 
a pleasant life, a pleasant sphere of activity: every- 
thing was all right There was nothing to beat the B.B. 
His only regret was that his relations with the regent* 
were not easier and more agreeable. But it was not 
his fault. He had always verj'' conscientiously given 
the regent his due, had left him in the enjoyment of 
his full rights, had seen to it that he was duly respected 
by the Javanese population and even by the European 
officials. Oh, how intensely he regretted the death of 
the old Pangeran,* the regent's father, the old regent, 
a noble, cultivated Javanese ! Van Oudi jck had always 
been in sympathy with him, had at once won him by 
his tact. Had he not, five years ago, when he arrived 
at Labuwangi to take over the administration, invited 
the Pangeran — ^the type of the genuine Javanese noble- 
man — ^to sit beside him in his ovm carriage, rather than 
allow him to follow in a second carriage, behind the 
resident's carriage, as was usual ? And had this civility 
towards the old prince not at once won all the Javanese 

*Thc nathre regent, or rajah. 

' Prince, the highest title borne by the oattre nobüitT. 




42 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

heads and officials and flattered them in their respect 
and love for their regent, the descendent of one of the 
oldest Javanese families, the Adiningrats, who were 
Sultans of Madura in the Company V time? 
But Sunario, his son, now the yoimg regent, he was 
unable to understand, tmable to fathom. This he con- 
fessed only to himself, in silence — seeing him always 
enigmatic — ^that wajang-puppet,^ as he called him — 
always stiff, keeping his distance towards him, the 
resident, as though he, the prince, looked down upon 
him, the Dutch burgher, and wholly absorbed in all 
sorts of superstitious observances and fanatical specula- 
tions. He never said as much openly, but something 
in the regent escaped him. He was unable to place 
that delicate figure, with the fixed coal-black eyes, in 
the practical life of human beings, as he had always 
been able to place the old Pangeran. The latter had 
always been to him, in accordance with his age, a 
fatherly friend; in accordance with etiquette, his 
"younger brother" ; but always the fellow-ruler of his 
district. But Sunario seemed to him unreal, not a 
functionary, not a regent, merely a fanatical Javanese 
who always shrouded himself in mystery: 
"Such nonsense!" thought Van Oudijckf 
He laughed at the reputation for sacrosanctity 
which the populace bestowed upon Sunario. He 
thought him unpractical, a degenerate Javanese, a crazy 
Javanese dandy. 

But his lack of harmony with the regent — a lack of 
harmony in character only, which had never devel(^)ed 

^ Like British India, Java was af first administered by a com- 
pany, the Dutch East India Company. 

'A wajang is a Javanese puppet-show, in which the figures 
represent strongly accentuated heroes and heroines out of the 
native legends. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 43 

actual fact: why, he could twist the mannikin 
id his finger ! — was the only great difficulty which 

arisen during all these years. And he would not 
e exchanged his life as a resident for any other life 
Ltever. Why, he was already fretting about what 
ieould do later, when he was pensioned off! What 
ivould have preferred was to continue as long as 
able in the service, as a member of the Indian 
mcil, as vice-president/ The object of his unspoken 
>ition, in the far-away future, was the thrcMie of 
tenzorg.* But nowadays they had that strong 
lia in Holland for appointing outsiders to the 
lest posts — ^men sent straight from Holland, new- 
lers who knew nothing about India — instead of re- 
ning faithful to the principle of selecting old Indian 
'ants, who had made their way up from subcon- 
Icr and who knew the whole official hierarchy by 
t. . . . Yes, what would he do, pensioned ofï ? 
e at Nice? With no money? For saving was im- 
rticable: his life was comfortable, but expensive; 

instead of saving he was running up debts. Well, 
: didn't matter now: the debts would be paid ofï in 
Ï, but later, later . . . The future, the ex- 
ice of a pensioned official, was anything but an 
ïeable prospect for him. To vegetate at the Hague, 

small house, with a gin-and-bitters in the Witte' or 
he Bcsogne-kamer* — among the old fogeys: br-r-r! 
: very idea of it made him shudder. He wouldn't 
ik about it ; he preferred not to think about it at all: 

The viceroy or governor-general, is president of the Indian 

iciL 

The hot-weather capital, thirty or forty miles from Batavia» 

itntng the viceroy's palace. 

The largest social club at the Hague. 

The select conservative club at the Hague. 



44 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

perhaps he would be dead by that time. But it was aU 
delightful now: his work, his house, India. There was 
absolutely nothing to compare with it. 

Leonie had listened to him smilingly: she was ac- 
customed to his quiet enthusiasm, his rhapsodizing over 
his post; as she put it, his adoration of the B.B. She 
also valued the luxury of being a resident's wife. The 
comparative isolation she did not mind ; she usually was 
sufficient unto herself. And she answered smilingly, 
contented and charming with her creamy complexion, 
which showed still whiter under the light coat of bedak^ 
against the red silk of her kimono and whidi looked 
delightful amidst the surrounding waves of her fair 
hair. 

That morning she had felt put out for a moment: 
Labuwangi, after Batavia, had depressed her with the 
tedium of an up-country capital. But since then she had 
acquired a large diamond; since then she had Theo 
back. His room was close to hers. And it was sure to 
be a long time before he could obtain a berth. 

These were her thoughts, while her husband sat bliss- 
fully reflecting after his pleasant confidences. 

Her thoughts went no deeper than this: anything 
like remorse would have surprised her in the highest 
degree, had she been capable of feeling it. . . . It 
began to grow dark slowly ; the moon was already rising 
and shining brightly ; and behind the velvety waringins, 
behind the feathery boughs of the coco-palms, which 
waved gently up and down, like tall, majestic bundles, 
like stately sheaves of dark ostrich-feathers, the last 
light of the sun threw a faintly stippled, dull-gold re- 
flection, against which the softness of the waringins 

* Rice-powder. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 45 

and the pcmip of the coco-palms stood out as though 
ctdied ia black. From the distance came the monoto- 
nous tinkle of the gamelan,^ mournfully, limpid as 
water, like a xylophone, with a deeper dissonance at 
intervals. 

^NiCivs ordiestra. 




CHAPTER VI 

Van Oudijck in a pleasant mood because of his wife 
and children, suggested a drive ; and the horses were put 
to the landau. Van Oudijck had a glad and jovial look, 
under the broad, gold-laced peak of his cap. Leonie, 
seated beside him, was wearing a new mauve muslin 
frock, from Batavia, and a hat with mauve poppies. A 
lady's hat in the up-country districts is a luxury, a co- 
lossal elegance; and Doddie, facing her, but dressed 
inland-fashion, without a hat, was secretly vexed and 
thought that mamma might just as well have told her 
she was going to "take" a hat, to use Doddie's idiom. 
She was now such a contrast to mamma ; she couldn't 
bear them now, those softly swaying poppies. Of the 
boys, Rene was with them, in a clean white suit. The 
chief oppasser sat on the box beside the coachman, 
holding against his side the great golden pajong,^ the 
symbol of authority. It was past six, it was already 
growing dark ; and over Labuwangi there hung at this 
hour the velvety silence, the tragic mystery of the twilit 
atmosphere that marked the days of the eastern mon- 
soon. Sometimes a dog barked, or a wood-pigeon 
cooed, breaking the unreality of the silence, as of a 
deserted town. But now there was also the rattle of 
the carriage driving right through the silence ; and the 
horses stamped the silence into tiny shreds. No other 
carriages were met ; an absence of all signs of human 
life cast a spell upon the gardens and verandahs. A 
couple of young men on foot, in white, took oflF their 
hats. 

* Umbrella. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 47 

rhe carriage had left the wealthier part of the town 
[ entered the Chinese quarter, where the lights were 
oing in the little shops. Business was almost fin- 
ïd : the Chinamen were resting, in all sorts of limp 
tudes, with their legs dangling or crossed, their arms 
ind their heads, their pigtails loose or twisted around 
ir skulls. When the carriage approached, tliey rose 
I remained standing respectfully. The Javanese for 

most part — ^those who were well brought up and 
5W their manners squatted down. Along the road 
xl a row of little portable kitchens, lit by small paraf - 
•lamps, the drink-vendors, the pastry-sellers. The 
:vailing colour in the evening darkness, lit by innu- 
rable little lamps, was dingy and motley. The Chi- 
« shops were crammed with goods, painted with red 
1 gold characters and pasted with red and gold labels 
Ji inscriptions: in the background was the domestic 
ir with the sacred print : the white god seated, with 
: black god grimacing behind him. But the street wid- 
d, became suddenly more considerable: rich Chinese 
jses loomed up softly, like white villas; the most 
iking was the gleaming, palatial villa of an immense- 
wealthy retired opium-factor, who had made his 
ney in the days before the opium-monopoly: a 
aming palace of graceful stucco-work, with number- 
> outbuildings. The porticos of the verandah were 
. monumental style of imposing elegance and in many 
t shades of gold ; in the depth of the open house the 
inensc domestic altar was visible, with the print of 
gods conspicuously illuminated ; the garden was laid 

with conventional, winding paths, but beautifully 
.'d with square pots and tall vases of dark blue-and- 
en glazed porcelain, containing dwarf trees, handed 




48 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

down as heirlooms from father to son ; and always kept 
with a radiant cleanliness, a careful neatness of detaÖ» 
eloquent of the prosperous, spick-and-span luxury of a 
Chinese opium-millionaire. But not all the Chinese 
houses were so ostentatiously open: most of them lay 
hidden with closed doors in high-walled gardens, tucked 
away in the secrecy of their domestic life. 

But suddenly the houses came to an end and Chinese 
graves stretched along a broad road: rich graves, each 
grassy mound with a stone entrance — ^the door of death 
— raised in the form of the symbol of fecundity — ^the 
door of life — ^and all surrounded with plenty of turf, 
to the great vexation of Van Oudi jck, wIk> redconed out 
how much ground was lost to cultivation by these burial- 
places of the rich Chinese. And the Chinese seemed to 
triumph in life and death in this mysterious town which 
was otherwise so silent: the Chinese gave it its actual 
character of busy traffic, of trade, of money-making, of 
living and d)ring ; for, when the carriage drove into the 
Arab quarter — a district of houses like any others, but 
gloomy, lacking in style, with life and prosperity hid- 
den away behind closed doors: with chairs in the 
verandah, but the master of the house gloomily sitting 
cross-legged on the floor, following the carriage with a 
black look — this quarter seemed even more mysterious 
than the fashionable part of Labuwangi and seemed to 
radiate its unutterable mystery like an atmo^ere of 
Islam that spread over the whole town, as though it 
were Islam that had poured forth the dusk, fatal 
melancholy of resignation that filled the shuddering, 
noiseless evening. . . . They did not fed this in 
their rattling carriage, accustomed to that atmosphere 
as they were from childhood and no longer sen^tive to 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 49 

gloomy secret that was like the approach of a dark 
^ which had always breathed upon them, the rulers 
their Creole blood, so that they should never sus- 
it. Perhaps, when Van Oudijck now and again 
about Pan-Islam in the newspapers, he was dimly 
cious in his deepest thoughts of this dark force, 
gloomy secrete But at moments like the present — 
Ing with his wife and children, amid the rattling of 
arriage and the trampling of his fine Walers; the 
isser with the furled pajong, which glittered like a 
ed sun, on the box — ^he felt too intensely aware of 
ndividuality, his authoritative, overbearing nature, 
eel anything of the dark secret, to divine anything 
le black peril. And he was now in far too pleasant 
ood to feel or see anything melancholy. In his 
mism he did not see even the decline of his town, 
:h he loved ; he was not struck, as they drove past, 
he immense, porticoed villas, the witnesses to the 
perity of former planters, now deserted, neglected, 
ding in grounds that had run wild, one of them 
n over by a timber- felling company, which allowed 
foreman to live in it and stacked the logs in the 
it-garden. The deserted houses gleamed sadly 
I their pillared porticoes which, amid the desolate 
mds, loomed spectral in the moonlight, like temples 
vil. But they did not see it like that: tn]oymg the 
ing of the soft carriage-springs, Leonie smiled and 
d ; and Doddie now that they were approaching the 
ge Laan again, looked out to see whether she could 
1 sight of Addie. . • • 



CHAPTER VII 

The secretary, Onno Eldersma, was a busy maiL The 
post brought a daily average of some two htmdred let- 
ters and documents to the residency-office, which em- 
ployed two senior clerks, six juniors and a number of 
djurutulis and fnagangs;^ and the resident grumbled 
whenever the work fell into arrears. He himself was 
an energetic worker ; and he expected his subordinates 
to show the same spirit. But sometimes there was a 
perfect torrent of documents, claims and applications. 
Eldersma was the typical government official, wholly 
wrapped up in his minutes and reports ; and Eldersma 
was always busy. He worked morning, noon and night 
He allowed himself no siesta. He took a hurried lunch 
at four o'clock and then rested for a little. Fortunately 
he had a sound, robust Frisian constitution; but he 
needed all his blood, all his muscles, all his nerves for 
his work. It was not mere scribbling, fumbling with 
papers: it was manual labour with the pen, muscular 
work, nervous work ; and it never ceased. He consumed 
himself, he spent himself, he was always writing. He 
had not another idea left in his head ; he was nothing 
but the official, the civil servant. He had a charming 
house, a most charming and exceptional wife, a delight- 
ful child, but he never saw them, though he lived, 
vaguely, amid his home surroundings. He just slaved 
away, conscientiously, working off what he could. 
Sometimes he would tell the resident that it was Impos- 
sible for him to do any more. But on this point Van 

* Native writers and clerks. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 51 

Oudijck was inexorable, pitiless. He himself had been 
a district secretary ; he knew what it meant. It meant 
work, it meant plodding on like a cart-horse. It meant 
living, eating, sleeping with your pen in your hand. 
Then Van Oudijck would show him this or that piece 
of work which had to be finished. And Eldersma, who 
had said that he could do no more than he was doing, 
finished the work and therefore always did do some- 
thing more than he believed that he could do. 

Then his wife, Eva, would say: 

**My husband has ceased to be a human being; my 
husband has ceased to be a man ; my husband is an of- 
ficial." 

The young wife, very European, now in India for the 
first time, had never known, before her two years at 
Labuwangi, that it was possible to work as hard as her 
husband did, in a country as hot as Labuwangi was dur- 
ing the eastern monsoon. She had resisted it at first ; 
she had at first tried to stand upon her rights ; but, when 
she saw that he had really not a minute to spare, she 
waived her rights. She had at once realized that her 
husband would not share her life, nor could she share 
his, not because he was not a good husband and very 
fond of his wife, but simply because the post brought 
two himdred letters and documents daily. She had at 
once seen that there was nothing for her at Labuwangi 
and she would have to console herself with her house 
and, later, with her child. She arranged her house as a 
temple of art and comfort and racked her brains over 
the education of her little boy. She was an artistically 
cultivated woman and came from an artistic environ- 
ment. Her father was Van Hove, the great landscape- 
painter; her mother was Stella Couberg, the famous 




52 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

concert-singer. Eva, brought up in an artistic and 
musical home, whose atmosf^ere she had breathed since 
her babyhood in her picture-books and childish songs» 
had married an East-Indian civil servant and had 
accompanied him to Labuwangi. She loved her hus- 
band, a good-looking Frisian and a man of sufiScient 
culture to take an interest in many subjects. And she 
had gone, happy in her love and filled with illusions 
about India and all the orientalism of the tropics. And 
she had tried to preserve her illusions, despite the warn- 
ings which she had received. At Singapore she was 
struck by the colour of the naked Malays, like that of a 
bronze statue, by the eastern motley of the Chinese and 
Arab quarters and the poetry of the Japanese tear 
houses, which tmf olded like a page of Loti as she drove 
past. But, soon after, in Batavia, a grey disappointment 
had fallen like a cold drizzling rain upon her expecta- 
tion of seeing everything in India as a beautiful fairy- 
tale, a story out of the Arabian Nights. The habits of 
their narrow, everyday existence damped all her unso- 
phisticated longing to admire ; and she saw everything 
that was ridiculous even before she discovered an3rthing 
more that was beautiful. At her hotel, the men in 
pyjamas lay at full length in the long chairs, with their 
lazy legs on the extended leg-rests, their feet — although 
carefully tended — ^bare and their toes moving quietly in 
a conscientious exercise of big toe and little toe, even 
while she was passing. The ladies were in sarong and 
kabaai, the only practical moming-dress, which is easily 
changed, two or three times a day, but which suits so 
few, the straight pillow-case outline at the back being 
peculiarly angular and ugly, however elegant and ex- 
pensive the costume. . . . And then the commonplace 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 53 

«t of the houses, with all their whitewash and their 
s of fragile and meretricious flower-pots; the 
iicd barrenness of the vegetation, the dirt of the 
ves. And, in the life of the Europeans, all the minor 
iirdities: the sinjo accent, with the constant little 
[amations; the narrow provincial conventionality of 
officials: only the Indian Council wearing top-hats* 
1 then the rigorous little maxims of etiquette: at a 
option, the highest functionary is the first to leave ; 
others follow in due order. And the little peculiari- 
of tropical customs, such as the use of Devoe pack- 
-cases and paraffin-tins for this, that and the other 
pose: the wood for shop-windows, for dust-bins 
. home-made articles of furniture; the tins for gut- 
* and watering-cans and all kinds of domestic uten- 

• • • 
rhe young and cultured little woman, with her Ara- 
i-Nights illusions, was unable, amid these first im- 
ssions, to distinguish between what was colonial — 
expedients of a European acclimatizing himself in a 
ntry which is alien to his blood — and what was really 
tic, genuinely Indian, purely eastern, absolutely 
anese ; and, because of these and other little absurdi- 
, she had at once felt disappointed, as every one with 
Stic inclination feels disappointed in colonial India, 
ich is not at all artistic or poetic and in which the 
2-trees in their white pots are scrupulously manured 
li horse-droppings as^high as they will stand, so that, 
m a breeze springs up, the scent of the roses mingles 
li a stench of freshly-sprinkled manure. And she 
I grown unjust, as does every Hollander, every new- 
ler to the beautiful country which he would like to 
with the eyes of his preconceived literary vision, but 




54 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

which impresses him at first by its absurd colonial side. 
And she forgot that the country itself, which was origi- 
nally so absolutely beautiful, was in no way to blame 
for this absurdity. 

She had had a couple of years of it and had been as- 
tonished, occasionally alarmed, then again shocked, had 
laughed sometimes and then again been annoyed and at 
last, with the reasonableness of her nature and the 
practical side of her artistic soul, had grown accustomed 
to it all. She had grown accustomed to the toe-exer- 
cises, to the manure around the roses ; she had grown 
accustomed to her husband, who was no longer a 
human being, no longer a man, but an official. She had 
suffered a great deal, she had written despairing letters, 
she had been sick with longing for the home of her 
parents, she had been on the verge of making a sudden 
departure, but she had not gone, so as not to leave 
her husband in his loneliness, and she had accustomed 
herself to things and made the best of them. She had 
not only the soul of an artist — she played the piano ex- 
ceptionally well— but also the heart of a plucky little 
woman. She had gone on loving her husband and she 
felt that, after all, she provided him with a pleasant 
home. She gave serious attention to the education of 
her child. And, once she had become accustomed to 
things, she grew less unjust and suddenly saw much of 
what was beautiful in India, admired the stately grace 
of a coco-palm, the exquisite, paradisial flavour of the 
Indian fruits, the glory of the blossoming trees ; and, in 
the' inland districts, she had realized the noble majesty 
of nature, the harmony of the undulating hills, the 
faery forests of gigantic ferns, the menacing ravines of 
the craters, the shimmering terraces of the flooded 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 55 

sawahs,^ with the tender green of the young paddy ; and 
the character of the Javanese had been a very revelation 
to her: his elegance, his grace, his salutation and his 
dance, his aristocratic distinction, so often evidently 
handed down directly from a noble race, from an age- 
old chivalry, now modernized into a diplomatic supple- 
ness, worshipping authority by nature and inevitably 
resigned under the yoke of the rulers whose gold-lace 
arouses his innate respect. 

In her father's house, Eva had always felt around her 
the cult of the artistic and the beautiful, even to the 
verge of decadence ; those with her had always directed 
her attention, in an environment of perfectly beautiful 
things, in beautiful words, in music, to the plastic 
beauty of life and perhaps too exclusively to that alone. 
And she was now too well trained in that school of 
beauty to persist in her disappointment and to see only 
the whitewash and flimsiness of the houses, the petty 
airs of the officials, the Devoe packing-cases and the 
horse-droppings. Her literary mind now saw the 
palatial character of the houses, the typical character of 
that official pride, which could hardly be different from 
what it was; and she saw all these details more ac- 
curately, obtaining a broader insight into all that world 
of India, until revelation followed upon revelation. 
Only she continued to feel something strange, some- 
thing that she could not analyse, a certain mystery and 
dark secrecy, which she felt creeping softly over the 
land at night. But she thought that it was no more 
than a mood produced by the darkness and the very 
dense foliage, that it was like the very quiet music of 
stringed instruments of a kind quite strange to her, a 

» Ricc-ficlds. 




56 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

distant murmur of harps in a minor key, a vague voice 
of warning, a whispering in the night — no more — 
which evoked poetic imaginings. 

At Labuwangi, a small inland capital, she often ^Sr 
tonished the acclimatized up-country elements because 
she was somewhat excitable, because she was enthusi- 
astic, spontaneous, glad to be alive — even in India — 
glad of the beauty of life, because she had a healthy 
nature, softly tempered and shaded into a charming pose 
of caring for nothing but the beautiful: beautiful lines, 
beautiful colours, artistic ideas. Those who knew her 
either disliked her or were very fond of her: few felt 
indifferent to her. She had gained a reputation in India 
for unusualness: her house was unusual, her clothes 
unusual, the education of her child unusual ; her ideas 
were unusual and the only ordinary thing about her 
was her Frisian husband, who was almost too ordi- 
nary in that environment, which might have been cut 
out of an art magazine. She was fond of society and 
gathered around her as much of the European element 
as possible: it was, indeed, seldom artistic; but she im- 
parted a pleasant tone to it, something that reminded 
everybody of Holland. This little clique, this group ad- 
mired her and instinctively adopted the tone which she 
set. Because of her greater culture, she ruled over it, 
though she was not a despot by nature. But not every- 
body approved of all this; and the others called her 
eccentric. The clique, however, the group remained 
faithful to her, for she awakened them, in the soft 
languor of Indian life, to the existence of music, ideas, 
and the jote de vivre. So she had drawn into her circle 
the doctor and his wife, the chief engineer and his wife, 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 57 

ontroleur-kotta} and his wife and sometimes a 
e of outside controllers, or a few young fellows 

the sugar-factories. This brought round her a 
Y little band of adherents. She ruled over them, 
lized amateur theatricals for them, picnicked with 

an4 charmed them with her house and her frocks 
he epicurean and artistic flavour of her life. They 
ive her everything that they did not understand — 
esthetic principles, her enthusiasm for Wagner — 
ise she gave them merriment and a little joie de 

and a sociable feeling in the deadliness of their 
ial existence. For this they were fervently grate- 
) her. And thus it had come about that her house 
le the actual centre of the social life of Labuwangi, 
eas the residency, on the other hand, withdrew 
dignified reserve into the shadow of its waringin- 
Leonie van Oudijck was not jealous on this ac- 
:. She loved her repose and was only too glad to 

everything to Eva Eldersma. And so Leonie 
led about nothing — ^neither entertainments nor 
:al societies and dramatic societies tod charities — 
elegated to Eva all the social duties which as a rule 
ident's wife feels bound to take upon herself, 
ie had her monthly receptions, at which she spoke 
erybody and smiled upon everybody, and g^ve her 
il ball on New Year's Day. ^fth this the social 
f the residency began and ended. Apart from this 
v^ed there in her egoism, in the comfort with which 
ad selfishlv surrounded herself, in her rosv dreams 
erubs and in such love as she was able to gather, 
times, periodically, she felt a need for Batavia and 
to spend a month or two there. And so she, as the 

)cal controller. 




58 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

resident's wife, led her own life ; and Eva did everything 
and Eva set the tone. It sometimes gave rise to a little 
jealousy, as for instance between her and the wife of 
the inspector of finances, who considered that the first 
place after Mrs. van Oudijck belonged to her and not 
to the secretary's wife. This would occasion a good 
deal of bickering over the Indian official etiquette ; and 
stories and tittle-tattle would go the rounds, enhanced, 
aggravated, until they reached the remotest sugar-fac- 
tory in the district. But Eva took no notice of all this 
gossip and preferred to devote herself to providing a 
little sociableness at Labuwangi. And, to keep things 
going properly, she and her little circle ruled the roost. 
She had been elected president of the Thalia Dramatic 
Society and she accepted, but on condition that the rules 
should be abolished. She was willing to be queen, but 
without a constitution. Everybody said that this would 
never do : there had always been rules. But Eva replied 
that, if there were to be rules, she must refuse to be 
president. And they gave way: the constitution of the 
Thalia was abolished ; Eva held absolute sway, chose 
the plays and distributed the parts. And it was the 
golden age of the society : rehearsed by her, the mem- 
bers acted so well that people came from Surabaya to 
attend the performances at the Concordia. The pieces 
played were of a quality such as had never been seen at 
the Concordia before. 

And the result of this again was that people either 
loved her or did not like her at all. But she went her 
way and provided a little European civilization, so that 
they might not grow too "musty" at Labuwangfi. And 
people descended to all sorts of trickery to get invited to 
her little dinners, which were famous and notorious. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 59 

she stipulated that her men should come in dress- 
les and not in their Singapore jackets, without 
:s. She introduced swallow-tails and white ties ; and 
was inexorable. The women were low-necked, as 
1, for the sake of coolness, and thought it delight- 
But her poor men struggled against it, puffed and 
r at first and felt congested in their tall collars ; the 
or declared that it was unhealthy ; and the veterans 
estcd that it was madness and opposed to all the 
1 old Indian habits. 

ut when they had puffed and blown a few times in 
r dress-coats and tall collars, they all found Mrs. 
rrsma's dinners charming, precisely because they 
z so European in style. 




CHAPTER VIII 

Eva was at home to her friends once a fortnight : 

"You see, resident, it's not a reception," she always 
said, in self-defence, to Van Oudijck. "I know that no 
one's allowed to 'receive' in the interior, except the resi- 
dent and his wife. It's really not a reception, resident. 
I couldn't dare to call it that. I'm just at home to 
everybody once a fortnight ; and I'm glad if our. friends 
care to come. . . . It's all right, isn't it, resident, 
as long as it's not a 'reception' ?" 

Van Oudijck would laugh merrily, with his jovial 
laugh shaking his military moustache, and ask if little 
Mrs. Eldersma was pulling his leg. She could do any- 
thing, if she would only continue to provide a little 
gaiety, a little acting, a little music, a little pleasant inter- 
course. That was her duty, once and for all : to look 
after the social element at Labuwangi. 

There was nothing Indian about her at-home-days. 
For instance, at the resident's, the receptions were regu- 
lated according to the old-Indian, up-country practice: 
all the ladies sat side by side, on chairs along the walls; 
Mrs. van Oudijck walked past them and talked to each 
for a moment in turn, standing, while they remained sit- 
ting ; the resident chatted to the men in another gallery. 
The male and female elements kept apart ; gin-and-bit- 
ters, port and iced water were handed round. 

At Eva's people strolled about, walked through the 
galleries, sat down anywhere they pleased ; everybody 
talked to everybody. There was not the same ceremony 
as at the resident's, but there was all the cidc of a 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 61 

Ji drawing-room, with an artistic touch to it. And 
I become a custom for the ladies to dress more for 

> days than for the resident's receptions : at Eva's 
wore hats, a symbol of extreme elegance in India, 
inately, Léonie did not care ; it left her totally in- 
ent 

onie was now sitting m the middle gallery, on a 
1, and remained sitting with the Raden- A ju, the 
of the regent. She thought that old custom pleas- 
everybody came up to her, whereas at her own re- 
>ns she had to do so much walking, past the row of 

> along the wall. Now she took her ease, remained 
g, smiling to those who came to pay her their re- 
5. But, apart from this, there was a restless move- 

of guests. Eva was here, there and everywhere. 
)o you think it's pretty here ?" Mrs. van der Does 
1 Léonie, with a glance at the middle gallery, 
id her eyes wandered in surprise over the dull 
rsques, painted in distemper on the pale-gfrey walls, 
frescoes; over the djati} wainscoting, car\'ed by 
ul Chinese cabinet-makers after a drawing in the 
io; over the bronze Japanese vases, on their djati 
>tals, in which branches of bamboo and bouquets 
gantic flowers cast their shadows right up to the 

)dd . . . but very pretty! Unusual!" mur- 
d Léonie to whom Eva's taste was always a conun- 

ithdrawn into herself as a temple of egoism, she 
lot mind what others did or felt, nor how they 
iged their houses. But she could not have lived 
She liked her own lithographs — ^Veronese and 
eak*wood 



62 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

Shakspeare and Tasso: she thought them distinguished 
— ^liked them better than the handsome sepia photo- 
graphs after Italian masters which Eva had standing 
here and there on easels. Above all, she loved her 
chocolate-box and the scent-advertisement with the *' 
little angels. 

"Do you like that dress?" Mrs. van der Does asked 
next. 

"Yes, I do,*' said Léonie, smiling pleasantly. "Eva's 
very clever: she painted those blue irises herself» on 
Chinese silk. ..." " 

She never said anything but kind, smiling things. 
She never spoke evil; it left her indifferent And she 
now turned to the Raden-Aju and thanked her in 
kindly, drawling sentences for some fruit which the 
latter had sent her. The regent came to speak to her jr^ 
and she asked after his two little sons. She talked in 
Dutch; and the regent and the Raden-Aju both 
answered in Malay. The Regent of Labuwangi, Raden 
Adipati Surio Sunario, was still young, just turned.^ 
thirty: a refined Javanese face like a conceited waJMtg- 
puppet; a little moustache, with the points carefully 
twisted ; and, above all, a staring gaze that struck the | 
beholder: a gaze that stared as though in a continuous ^ 
trance ; a gaze that seemed to pierce the visible reality -' \ 
and to see right through it ; a gaze that issued from c)res 
like coals, sometimes dull and weary, sometimes flash-* 
ing like sparks of ecstasy and fanaticism. Among the 
population which was almost slavishly attached to its | 
regent and his family, he enjoyed a reputation for sanc- 
tity and mystery, though no one ever knew the truth of 
the matter. Here, in Eva's gallery, he merely produced 
the impression of a puppet-like figure, of a distin- 



I 



1 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 63 

gaished Indian prince, save that his trance-like eyes 
occasioned surprise. The sarong, drawn smoothly 
around his hips, hung low in front in a bimdle of flat» 
regular pleats, which fluttered open ; he wore a white 
starched shirt with diamond studs and a little blue tie ; 
over this was a blue cloth uniform- jacket, with gold 
uniform-buttons, with the royal W^ and the crown; 
his bare feet were encased in black, patent-leather 
pumps with points turned up at the toes ; the kerchief 
carefully wound about his head in narrow folds im- 
parted a feminine air to his refined features, but the 
black eyes, now and then weary, constantly sparkled 
up in trance, in ecstasy. The golden kris was stuck in 
his blue-and-gold waistband, right behind, in the small 
of his back; a large jewel glittered on his small and 
slender hand ; and a cigarette-case of braided gold wire 
peeped from the pocket of his jacket. He did not say 
much — sometimes he looked as though he were asleep; 
then his strange eyes would flash up again — and his 
replies to what Leonie said consisted almost exclusively 
of a curt, clipped: *'Saja. ."^ He uttered 

the two syllables with a hard, sibilant accent of po- 
liteness, laying equal stress upon each. He accom- 
panied his little word of civility with a short, automatic 
nod of the head. The Raden-Aju too, seated beside 
Leonie, answered in the same way: ^'Saja. . . ." 
But she always followed it up with a little, embarrassed 
laugh. She was very young still, possibly just eighteen. 
She was a Solo princess ; and Van Ovidi jck could not 
tolerate her, because she introduced Solo manners and 
Solo expressions into Labuwangi, in her conceited arro- 
gance, as though nothing could be so distinguished and 

*Thc initial of A^IIhelmina Queen of the Netherlands. 
•Tcs.- 




64 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

•SO purely aristrocratic as what was done and said at the 
'court of Solo. She employed court phrases which the 
Labuwangi population did not understand; she had 
forced the regent to engage a Solo coachman, with the 
Solo state livery, including the wig and the false beard 
and moustache, at which the people stared wide-eyed. 
Her yellow complexion was made to appear yet paler 
by a light layer of bedak, applied moist ; her eyebrows 
were slightly arched with a streak of black; jewelled, 
hairpins were stuck in her glossy kondé^ and a kenanga- 
flower in her girdle. Over a kain-padjang,' which, 
according to the custom of the Solo court was long and 
trailing, in front, she wore a kdbaai of red brocade, re- 
lieved with gold braid and fastened with three large 
gems. Two stones of fabulous value, moreover, in 
heavy silver settings, dragged her ears down. She 
wore light-coloured, open-wo|k stockings and gold son- 
kef slippers. Her little thin fingers were stiflF with 
rings, as though set in brilliants ; and she held a white 
marabou fan in her hand. 

**Saja • . . saja/* she answered, civilly, with 
her embarrassed little laugh. 

Léonie was silent for a moment, tired of carrying 
on the conversation by herself. When she had spoken 
to the regent and the Raden-Aju about their sons, she 
did not find much more to say. Van Oudijck, after 
Eva had shown him round the galleries — for there was 
always something new to admire — joined his wife; 
the regent rose to his feet. 

* Chignon. 

"A long, embroidered garment 

• Chinese gold embroidery. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 65 

*'And, regent," asked the resident, in Dutch, 'Tiow 
s the Raden-Aju Pangéran?" 

He was enquiring after Sunario's mother, the old 
egent's widow. 

"Very well . • . thank you," murmured the 
egent, in Malay. "But mamma didn't come with us 

. . so old . . . easily tired." 

"I want to speak to you, regent." 

The regent followed Van Oudijck into the front- 
erandah, which was empty. 

"I am sorry to have to tell you that I have just had 
nother bad report of your brother, the Regent of 
s^gadjiwa. ... I am informed that he has lately 
een gambling again and has lost large sums of money. 
)o you know anything about it ?" 

The regent shut himself up, as it were, in his puppet- 
ke stiffness and kept siknce. Only his eyes stared, 
s though gazing, through Van Oudijck, at distant 
lings. 

"Do you know anything about it, regent?" 

"Tida . . . r' 

"I request you, as head of the family, to look into it 
nd to keep a watch upon your brother. He gambles, 
e drinks ; he does your name no credit, regent. If the 
Id Pangeran could have guessed that his second son 
'ould go to the dogs like this, it would have pained 
im greatly. He held his name high. He was one of 
le wisest and noblest regents that the government ever 
ad in Java; and you know how greatly the govem- 
Icnt valued the Pangeran. Even in the Company's 
ays, Holland owed much to your house, which was 
Iways loyal to her. But the times seem to be altering. 



66 TUK TilDDEX FORCE 

. . . It is very regrettable regent, that an old Jav- 
anese family with such lofty traditions as yours should 
be unable to remain faithful to those traditions. 

• • • 

Raden Adipati Surio Sunario turned pale with a 
greenish pallor. His hypnotic eyes pierced the resi- 
dent ; but he saw that the latter also was boiling with 
anger. And he dimmed the strange glitter of his gaze 
into a drowsy weariness: 

"I thought, resident, that you had alwa)rs felt an 
affection for my house," he murmured, almost plain- 
tively. 

"And you thought right, regent I loved the Pan- 
géran. I have always admired your house and have 
always tried to uphold it. I want to uphold it still, 
together with yourself, regent, hoping that you see not 
only, as your reputation suggests, the things of the 
next world, but also the realities about you. But it is 
your brother, regent, whom I do not love and xrannot 
possibly esteem. I have been told — ^and I can trust the 
words of those who told me — ^that the Regent of Ngad- 
jiwa has not only been gambling . . . but also 
that he has failed this month to pay the heads at Ngad- 
jiwa their salaries. . . ." 

They looked at each other fixedly ; and Van Oudi jck's 
firm and steady glance met the regent's hypnotic gaze. 

"The persons who act as your informants may be 
mistaken. . ." 

"I am assuming that they would not bring me such 
reports without the most incontestable certainty. 
. . . Regent, this is a very delicate matter. I re- 
peat, you are the head of your family. Enquire of your 
younger brother to what extent he has misapplied the 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 67 

money of the government and make it all good as soon 
as possible. I am purposely leaving the matter to you. 
I will not speak to your brother about it, in order to 
spare a member of your family as long as I can. It is 
for you to admonish your brother, to call his attention 
to what in my eyes is a crime, but one which you 
through your prestige as head of the family, are still 
able to undo. Forbid him to gamble and order him to 
master his passion. Otherwise I foresee very grievous 
things and I shall have to propose your brother's dis- 
missal. You yourself know how I should dislike to 
do that. For the Regent of Ngadjiwa is the second 
son of the old Pangéran, whom I held in high esteem, 
even as I should always wish to spare your mother, the 
Raden-Aju Pangéran, any sorrow." 

"I thank you," murmured Sunario. 

''Reflect seriously upon what I am saying to you, 
regent. If you cannot make your brother listen to 
reason, if the salaries of the heads are not paid at the 
earliest possible date, then . . . then / shall have 
to act. And, if my warning is of no avail, then it means 
your brother's fall. You yourself know, the dismissal 
of a regent is such a very exceptional thing that it 
would bring disgrace upon your family. Assist me in 
saving the house of the Adiningrats from such a fate." 

"I promise," murmured the regent. 

"Give me your hand, regent." 

Van Oudijck pressed the thin fingers of the Javanese: 

"Can I trust you ?" he asked. 

"In life, in death." 

"Then let us go indoors. And tell me as soon as 
possible what you have discovered." 




68 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

The regent bowed. A greenish pallor betraye 
silent, secret rage which was working inside hin 
the fire of a volcano. His eyes, behind Van Oud 
back, darted with a mysterious hatred at the Holla 
the low-bom Hollander, the base commoner, the i: 
Christian, who had no business to feel anything, 
that unclean soul of his, concerning him, his hous 
father, his mother, or their supremely sacred ar 
racy and nobility . . . even though they ha 
ways bowed beneath the yoke of those who 
stronger than they. . * . 




V 



CHAPTER IX 

*T have counted on your staying to dinner," said Eva. 

"Of course," replied Van Helderen, the controller, 
and his wife. 

The reception — ^not a reception, as Eva always said 
in self-defence — ^was nearly over: the Van Oudijcks 
had been the first to go; the regent followed. The** 
Eldersmas were left with their little band of intimates: 
Dr. Rantzow and Doorn de Bruijn, the senior engineer, 
with their wives, and the Van Helderens. They sat 
down in the front-verandah with a certain sense of 
relief and rocked comfortably to and fro. Whiskies- 
and-soda, glasses of lemonade, with great lumps of ice 
in them, were handed round. 

"Always chock full, reception at Eva's," so Mrs. van 
Helderen. "Fuller than other day at resident's. 
• • • 

Ida van Helderen was a typical little white nonna. 
She always tried to behave in a very European fashion, 
to talk Dutch nicely ; she even pretended to speak bad 
Malay and to care for neither rijsttafeP^ nor rujak^ 
She was short and plump all over ; she was very white, 
a dead white, with big, black, astonished eyes. She 
was full of little mysterious whims and hatreds and 
affections; all her actions were the result of mysterious 
little impulses. Sometimes she hated Eva, sometimes 
she doted on her. She was absolutely unreliable: her 

* Literally rice-table : the luncheon consisting mainly of curried 
dishes. 

' Unripe fruits, sliced and mixed with vinegar, soya and sugar. 



70 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

every action, every movement, every word might be a 
surprise. She was always in love, tragically. She took 
all her little affairs very tragically, on a very large and 
serious scale, with not the least sense of proportion, and 
then unbosomed herself to Eva, who laughed and com- 
forted her. 

Her husband, the controller, had never been in Hol- 
land: he had been educated entirely at Batavia, in the 
William HI. College and the Indian Department And 
he was very strange to see, this Creole, apparently quite 
European, tall, fair and pale, with his fair moustache, 
his blue eyes expressing animation and interest and his j 
manners which displayed a finer courtesy than could be | 
found in the smartest circles of Europe, but with not a 
vestige of India in thought, speech or dress. He would 
speak of Paris and Vienna as though he had spent 
years in both capitals, whereas he had never been out 
of Java; he was mad on music, though he found a 
difficulty in appreciating Wagner, whom Eva was so J 
fond of playing ; and his great illusion was that he must * 
really go to Europe on leave next year, to see the Paris 
Exhibition.* There was a wonderful distinction and 
innate style about young Van Helderen, as though he j 
were not the offspring of European parents who had 
always lived in India, as though he were a foreigner 
from an unknown country, of a nationality which you I 
could not place at once. His accent barely betrayed 
a certain softness, resulting from the climate ; he spoke 
Dutch so correctly that it would have sounded almost 
stiff amid the slovenly slang of the mother-country; 
and he spoke French, English and German with greater 
facility than most Dutchmen. Perhaps he ow^ to a 

*0f igoa 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 71 

:h mother that exotic politeness and courtesy, in- 
pleasant and natural. In his wife, who was also 
-ench extraction, springing from a Creole family 
^tmion, this exoticism had become a mysterious 
ly which had never developed beyond a sort of 
ishness and a jumble of petty emotions and petty 
Dns, while she tried to read tragedy into her life 
those great, sombre eyes, though she did no more 
just dip into it as into an ill-written magazine- 
• 

e imagined herself to be now in love with the- 
r engineer, the oldest of the little band, a man 
dy turning grey, with a black beard, and, in her 
: fashion, she pictured scenes with Mrs. Doom de 
in, a stout, placid, melancholy woman. Dr. Rant- 
md his wife were Germans: he fat, fair-haired, 
ir, pot-bellied; she, with a serene German face, 
ant and matronly, talking Dutch vivaciously with 
-man accent 

is was the little clique over which Eva Eldersma 
ed. In addition to Frans van Helderen, the con- 
r, it consisted of quite ordinary Indian and Euro- 
elements, people without artistic sense, as Eva 
but she had no other choice, at Labuwangi, and 
fore she amused herself with Ida's little nomxa 
dies and made the most of the others. Onno, her 
md, tired as usual with his work, did not join 
in the conversation, sat and listened. 
[ow long was Mrs. van Oudijck at Batavia?" 
1 Ida. 

wo months," said the doctor's wife. "A very 
visit, this time." 
hear," said Mrs. Doom de Bruijn, placid, melan- 




4t. 



72 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

choly and quietiy venomous, "that this time cme mem- t 
ber of council, one head of a department and three 
young business-men kept Mrs. van Oudijck amused at 
Batavia." 

And I can assure you people," said the doctor, 
that, if Mrs. van Oudijck did not go to Batavia regu- 
larly, she would miss a beneficial cure, even though •- 
she takes it on her own and not ... by my pre- j 
scription." | 

"Let us speak no evil !" Eva interrupted, almost en- 
treatingly, "Mrs. van Oudijck is beautiful — ^with a 
tranquil Junoesque beauty and the eyes of a Venus — 
and I can forgive anything to beautiful people about ^ 
me. And you, doctor," threatening him with her fin- 
ger, "mustn't betray professional secrets. The doctors 
in India, you know, are often far too outspoken about 
their patients' secrets. When I'm ill, it's never any- 
thing but a headache. Will you make a careful note 
of that, doctor?" 

"The resident seems preoccupied," said Doom de 
Bruijn. 

"Could he know . . . about his wife?" asked 
Ida, sombrely, her great eyes filled with black velvet 
tragedy. I 

"The resident is often like that," said Fnm van . 
Helderen. "He has his moods. Sometimes he's (deas- # 
ant, cheerful, jovial, as he was lately, on the circuit. ■ 
Then again he has his gloomy days, working and work- • 
ing and grumbling that nobody does any work except \ 
himself." \ 

My poor, unappreciated Onno !" sighed Eva. j 

I believe he's overworking himself," said Van 
Helderen. "Labuwangi is a tremendously busy dis- 



i 



it' 







f 

THE HIDDEN FORCE 71 

ict And the resident takes things too much to heart, 
>th in his own house and outside, both his relations 
ith his son and his relations with the regent." 

I should sack the regent/' said the doctor. 

But, doctor," said Van Helderen, "you know 
Lougfa about our conditions in Java to know that 
lings can't be done just like that The regent, and his 
imily are closely identified, with Labuwangi and too 
ghly considered by the population. . . ." 
''Yes, I know the Dutch policy. The English in 
ritish India deal with their Indian princes in a more 
bitrary and high-handed fashion. The Dutch treat 
em much too gently." 

"The question might arise which of the two policies 
the better in the long run," said Van Helderen, drily, 
iting to hear a foreigner disparage anything in a 
utch colony. "Fortunately, we know nothing here of 
le continual poverty and famine that prevail in British 
idia." 

"I saw the resident speaking very seriously to the 
gent," said Doom de Bruijn. 

"The resident is too susceptible," said Van Helderen, 
rie allows himself to be very much dejected by the 
adual decline of that old Javanese family, which is 
)omcd to be ruined and which he would like to uphold, 
he resident, cool and practical though he be, is a bit 
' a romantic in this, though he might refuse to admit 
But he remembers the Adiningrats' glorious past, 
\ remembers that last fine figure, the noble old Pan- 
:ran, and he compares him with his sons, the one a 
natic, the other a gambler. . . . ." 
"I think our regent — ^not the Ngadjiwa <xie: he's a 
olie— delightful !" said Eva. "He's a living wajang- 



K 



^ 



74 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

puppet. Except his eyes: they frighten me. What .^ 
terrible eyes I Sometimes they're asleep and sometimes 
they're like a maniac's. But he is so refined^ so dis- L 
tinguishedl And the Raden-Aju too is an exquisite 
little doll: 'Saja . . . saja!* She says nothing, 
but she looks very decorative. I'm always glad when 
they adorn my at-home-day and I miss them when 
they're not there. And the old Raden-Aju Pangéran» 
grey-haired, dignified, a queen . . . " 

"A gambler of the first water/' said Eldersma. 

"They gamble away all they possess/' said Van 
Helderen, "she and the Regent of Ngadjiwa: The3r're 
no longer rich. The old Pangéran used to have splen- i 
did insignia of rank for state occasions, magnificent 
lances, a jewelled sirilir-box,^ spittoons — ^useful objects, 
those!— of priceless value. The old Raden-Aju has 
gambled them all away. I doubt if she has anything 
left but her pension: two hundred and forty guilders,* 
I believe. And how our regent manages to keep all 
his cousins, male and female, in the Kabupaten* ac- 
cording to the Javanesecustom, is beyond me." 

"What's that custom?" asiced the doctor. 

"Every regent collects his whole family around him 
i like parasites, clothes them, feeds them, provides them ( 

with pocket-money . • • and the natives think it 
' dignified and smart." I 

"Sad . . . that ruined greatness!" said Ida, ( 
gloomily. 

A boy came to annoimce dinner and they went to the 

^ A gold or silver casket containing the ingredients with whidi 
to prepare betel-pepper for chewing. 

' £20 a month. 1 

■The regent's palace. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 75 

ick-verandah and sat down to table. 

"And what have you in prospect for us, mcv- 
xiwt je ?" asked the senior engineer. "What are the 
laos? Labuwangi has been very quiet lately.'' 

"It's really terrible," said Eva. "If I hadn't all of 
cm, it would be terrible. If I weren't always planning 
Dmething and having ideas, it would be terrible, this 
xistence at Labuwangi. My husband doesn't feel it ; 
e works, as all you men do: what else is there to do 
1 India but work, regardless of the heat? But for us 
romen I What a life, if we didn't find our happiness 
urcly in ourselves, in our home, in our friends . . . 
^hcn we have the good fortune to possess those friends! 
lodiing from the outside. Not a picture, not a statue 

look at ; no music to listen to. Don't be cross. Van 
Iclderen. You play the 'cello charmingly, but nobody 
n India can keep up to date. The Italian Opera plays 
yavatore. The amateur companies^— and they're 
cally first-rate at Batavia — ^play ... TroT/atore. 
ind you. Van Helderen ' . . don't object. I saw 
ou in an ecstasy when the Italian company from Suru- 
aya was here lately, at the club, and played . . . 
yovatore. You were enchanted." 

"There were some beautiful voices among them." 
"But twenty years ago, so they tell me, people here 
^erc also enchanted with . . . Trovatore. Oh, 
's terrible! Sometimes, suddenly, it oppresses me. 
ometimes, all of a sudden, I feel that I have not grown 
sed to India and that I never shall; and I begin to 
)ng for Europe, for life !" 

"But Eva," Eldersma began, Jn alarm, dreading lest 
[le should really go home one day, leaving him alone 

1 what would Üien be his utteriy joyless working-Ufc 




76 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

at Labuwangi, "sometimes you do appreciate India: s 
your house, the pleasant, spacious life. . /' 

"MateriaUy. . r 

"And don't you appreciate your own work, I mean 
the many things which you are able to do here ?" 

"What ? Getting up parties ? Arranging theat- 1 - 
ricals?" '" 

"It's you who are the real rezidente"^ said Ida gush- 
ingly. 

"Thank goodness, we're coming back to Mrs. van 
Oudijck," said Mrs. Doom de Bruijn, teasingly. 

"And to professional secrecy," said Dr. Rantzow. 

"No," sighed Eva, "we want something new. ^ 
Dances, parties, picnics, trips into the mountains 
. . . we've exhausted all that. I know nothing 
more. The Indian depression's coming over me. I'm 
in one of my dejected moods. Those brown faces of 
my *boys' around me suddenly strike me as uncanny. 
India frightens me at times. Do none of you feel the 
same ? A vague dread, a mystery in the air, something 
menacing. . . I don't know what it is. The eve- 
nings are sometimes so full of mystery and there is 
something mystic in the character of the native, who 
is remote from us, who differs from us so. . . /* 

"Artistic feelings," said Van Helderen, chaffingly. 
**No, I dcm't feel like that. India is my country." 

"You type!'^ said Eva, chaffing him in return, i 
'What makes you what you are, so curiously Euro- i 
pean ? I can't call it Dutch." 

"My mother was a Frenchwoman." ' 

"But, after all, you're a njo:^ bom here, brought up 

* Resident's vnit, 
■Abbreviation of sin jo. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 77 

. • • . And you have nothing of a njo about 
I think it's wonderful to have met you: I like 
as a change. • . . Help me, can't you ? Sug- 
soroething new. Not a dance and not a trip in the 
ntains. I want something new. Else I shall get 
aving for my father's paintings, for my mother's 
ing, for our beautiful, artistic house at the Hague. 

don't have something new, I shall die. I'm not 
your wife. Van Helderen, always in love." 
iva!" Ida entreated. 

Tragically in love, with her beautiful, sombre eyes, 
ays, first with her husband and then with somebody 
I am never in love. Not even any longer with 
[lusband. He is . . . with me. But I have 
an amorous nature. There's a great deal of love- 
ing in India, isn't there, doctor? . . . Well, 
e ruled out dances, excursions in the mountains 
love-making. What then, in Heaven's name, what 
?" 

know of something," said Mrs. Doom de Brui jn ; 
a sudden anxiety came over her placid melancholy, 
le gave a side-glance at Mrs. Rantzow ; the German 
lan grasped her meaning. 
Vhat IS it?" asked the others, eagerly, 
fable-tuming," whispered the two ladies, 
lere was a general laugh. 

)h dear!" sighed Eva, disappointed. "A trick, a 
. an evening^s amusement. No, I want something 
will fill my life for at least a month." 
i'able-tuming," repeated Mrs. Rantzow. 
Jsten to me," said Mrs. Doom de Bmijn. 'The 
' day, for a joke, we tried making a gipsy-table 
We all promised not to cheat. The table 



78 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

. . . moved, spelt out words, tapping them out by 
the alphabet." 

"But was there no cheating?" asked the doctor, 
Eldersma and Van Helderen. 

"You'll have to trust us," declared the two ladies, 
in self-defence. 

"All right," said Eva. "We've finished dinner. 
Let's have some table-turning." 

"We must all promise not to cheat," said Mrs. 
Rantzow. "I can see that my husband will be 
• . . antipathetic. But Ida ... a great 
medium." 

They rose. 

'Must we have the lights out?" asked Eva. 
'No," said Mrs. Doom de Bruijn. 
'An ordinary gipsy-table?" 

"A three-legged wooden table." 

"The eight of us?" 

"No, we must begin by choosing: for instance, your- 
self, Eva, Ida, Van Helderen and Mrs. Rantzow. The 
doctor's antipathetic ; so is Eldersma. De Bruijn and I 
will relieve you." 

"Off we go, then !" said Eva. "A new diversion for 
Labuwangi society. And no cheating. . ." 

"We must give one another our word of honour, as 
friends, not to cheat." 

"D(xie!" they all said. 

The doctor sniggered. Eldersma shrug^^ his 
shoulders. A boy brought a gipsy-table. They sat 
round the little wooden table and ^aced their fingers 
on it lightly, looking at one another expectantly and 
suspiciously. Mrs. Rantzow was solemn, Evj. amused, 
Ida sombre. Van Helderen smilingly indifferent Sud- 



"] 

"] 
ft 



§f 



] 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 79 

lenly a strained expression came over Ida's beautiful 
kmno-face. 

The table quivered. ... 

They exchanged frightened glances; the doctor snig- 
i;ered. 

Then, slowly, the table tilted one of its three legs and 
arcfully put it down again. 

"Did anybody move?" asked Eva. 

They all shook their heads. Ida had turned pale : 

"I feel a trembling in my fingers," she murmured. 

The table once more tilted its leg, described an angry, 
jrating semicircle over the marble floor and put its leg 
lown with a violent stamp. 

They looked at one another in surprise. Ida sat as 
hough bereft of life, staring, with fingers outspread, 
ecstatically. 

And the table tilted its leg for the third time. 

It was certainly very curious. Eva doubted for a 
noment whether Mrs. Rantzow was lifting the table, 
but, when she questioned her with a glance, the German 
doctor's wife shook her head and Eva saw that she was 
plapng fair. They once more promised absolute 
lonesty. And, when they were now certain of one 
mother, in full ccmfidence, it was most curious how 
:he table continued to describe angry, grating semi- 
rircles, tilting one leg and tapping on the marble floor. 

"Is there a spirit present, revealing itself?" asked 
^f rs. Rantzow, with a glance at the leg of the table. 

The table tapped once : 

"Yes." 

But, when the spirit was asked to spell its name, to 
tap out the letters of its name by the letters of the 
ilphabet, all that came was: 

"Z X R S A." 



80 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

The manifestation was incomprehensible. 

Suddenly, however, the table began spelling hur- 
riedly, as though it had something at its heels. The 
taps were counted and spelt: 

"Lé . . . onie Ou . . . dijck. . . .^ 

"What about Mrs. van Oudijck?" 

A coarse word followed. 

The ladies started, excepting Ida, who sat as though 
in a trance. 

'The table has spoken. . . . What did it say? 
. . . What is Mrs. van Oudijck?" cried the voices, 
all speaking at once. 

"It's incredible !" murmured Eva. "Are we all play- 
ing fair?" 

They all protested their hcwiesty. 

"Let us really be honest, else there's no fun in it 
. . . I wish I could be certain." 

They all wished that: Mrs. Rantzow, Ida, Van 
Helderen, Eva. The others looked on eagerly, believ- 
ing ; but the doctor did not believe and sat sniggering. 

Again the table grated angrily and tapped: and the j 
leg repeated : 

"A " 

And the leg repeated the coarse word. 

"Why?" asked Mrs. Rantzow. 

The table began to tap. 

"Take down, Onno !" said Eva to her husband. 

Eldersma fetched a pencil and paper and took down. 

Three names followed : one of a member of coundl, 
one of a departmental head, one of a young business- \ 
man. 

"When people aren't backbiting in India, the tables 
begin to backbite !" said Eva. I 



1 



I 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 81 



to 



The spirits," murmured Ida. 

These are generally mocking spirits," said Mrs. 
ilantzow, didactically. 

But the table went on tapping. 

"Take down, Onno!" said Eva. 

Eldersma took down. 

"A-d-d-i-e !" the leg tapped out. 

"No!" the voices all cried together, in vehement 
lenial. 'This time the table's mistaken ! ... At 
east, yoiuig De Luce has never yet been mentioned in 
:onnection with Mrs. van Oudijck." 

T-h-e-o!" said the table, correcting itself. 
'Her step-son! . . . It's terrible! . . . 
That's different! . . . Everybody knows it!" 
:ried the voices in assent. 

"But we know that!" said Mrs. Rantzow, with a 
g^lance at the leg of the table. "Come, tell us something 
we don't know. Come table ! Come, spirit ! Please ! 



t*» 
it' 



fi 



She addressed the table-leg in coaxing, wheedling 
accents. Everybody laughed. The table grated. 

"Be serious ! Mrs. Doom de Brui jn said, in warn- 
ing. 

The table bumped down in Ida's lap. 

''Adu!*'^ cried the pretty nonna, waking out of her 
trance. "Right against my stomach !" 

They laughed and laughed. The table turned refund 
fiercely and they rose from their chairs, with their 
hands on the table, and accompanied its angry, waltzing 
movements. 

"Next . . . year," the table rq>ped out 

Eldersma took down. 

Trightful . . . war. . . .*• 

»*X)hiiiyr 




82 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

"Between whom? . . ." 



"Europe . . . and . . • China,*' 
"It sounds like a fairy-tale !" grinned the doctor. 
"La . . . bu . . . wangj/' tapped 
table. 

'What about it?" they asked. 

Is . . . a . . . beastly • • • h 



«1 

LS 






'Say something serious, table, do!" Mrs. Rant 
implored, pleasantly, in her best German-matron n 



ner. 
it 



Dan . . . ger," the table tapped out. 

'Where?" 

"Threat . . . ens," the table continued, * 
. . . bu . . . wangi." 

"Danger threatens Labuwangi ?" 

"Yes !" said the table, with one tap, angrily. 

"What danger?" 

"Rebellion." 

"Rebellion? Who's going to rebel?" 

"In . . . two months ... Sunario." 

They became thoughtful. 

But the table, suddenly, unexpectedly, fell over i 
Ida's lap again. 

''Adu! Adtir cried the little woman. 

The table refused to go on. 

"Tired," it tapped out. 

They continued to hold their hands on it 

"Leave off," said the table. 

The doctor, sniggering, laid his short, broad h 
on it, as though to compel it. 

"Go to blazes !" cried the table, grating and turn 
"Bounder!" 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 83 

worse words followed, aimed at the doctor, as 
L by a street-boy: obscene words, senseless and 
rent, 
lo's suggesting those words?" asked Eva, indig- 

iously no one was suggesting them, neither the 
adies nor Van Helderen, who was always very 
ious and who was manifestly indignant at the 
ig spirit's coarseness. 

-eally is a spirit," said Ida, looking very pale. 
I going to leave off," said Eva, nervously, lifting 
fingers. "I don't understand this nonsense. It's 
jnusing, but the table's not accustomed to polite 



»» 



ï've got a new resource for Labuwangi!" said 
ma. "No more picnics, no dances . . . but 
Lirning !" 

Ï must practise !" said Mrs. Doom de Bruijn. 
shrugged her shoulders: 

; inexplicable," she said. "I'm bound to believe 
>ne of us was cheating. It's not the sort of thing 
lelderen would do, to suggest such words as 

idam !" said Van Helderen, defending himself. 

Ï must do it again," said Ida. 'Took, there's a 

leaving the grounds." 

pointed to the garden. 

iiadji?" asked Eva. 

looked towards the garden. There was nothing. 

no. It's not!" said Ida. "I thought it was a 

It's nothing, only the moonlight." 

}i1grim who has made or ts making the pilgnmage to 




84 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

It was late. They said good-night, laughing gaily, 
wondering, but finding no explanation. 

"I do hope this hasn't made you ladies nervous?" 
said the doctor. 

No, considering all things, they were not nervous. 
They were more amused, even liiough they did not 
imderstand. 

It was two o'clock when they went home. The 
moonlight was streaming down on the town, which lay 
deathly silent, slumbering in the velvet shadows of the 
gardens. 




CHAPTER X 

rt day, when Eldersma had gone to the office and 

. was moving about the house, in sarong and kabaai, 

tier domestic duties, she saw Frans van Helderen 

ing through the garden. 

May I ?" he called out. 

Certainly," she called back. "Come in. But I'm 

my way to the gudang,"^ 

ind she held up her key-basket. 

I'm due at the resident's in half an hour, but I'm 

early . . . so. I just looked in." 

he smiled. 

But I'm busy, you know!" she cried. "Come along 

he gudang with me." 

[e followed her: he was wearing a black alpaca 

:et, because he had to go to the resident presently. 

How's Ida?" asked Eva. "Did she sleep well after 

seance of last night?" 

Only fairly well," said Franz van Helderen. "I 

*t think she ought to do any more. She kept waking 

I a start, falling on my neck and begging me to 

^ve her, I don't know what for/' 

[t didn't upset me at all," said Eva, "although I 

't understand it in the least." 

he opened the gudang, called the kokkte and gave 

;voman her orders. The kokkte was latta,^ and Eva 

d teasing the old thing. 

Store-room, go-down. 

\ nervous disorder which is manifested by sudden ocriods of 
sc sugsrcstibility, resulting in mimicry. Recorcry is com- 
ly instantaneous. 




86 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

"La . . . la-iUa-lala !" she cried 

And the kokkie gave a start and echoed the cry an 
recovered herself the next moment, begging for foi 
giveness. 

"Buang,^ kokkie, buangt*' cried Eva, 

And the kokkie, acting on the suggestion, flung dovi 
SL tray of rambutens' and mangistans^ and, at once n 
covering, stooped and picked up the scattered f rui 
from the floor, imploring to be forgiven and shakin 
her head and clicking her tongue. 

"Come, we'd better go I" said Eva to Frans. "EIj 
she'll be breaking my eggs presently. Ajo, kokki 
kluarr*^ 

'^Ajo, kluarl" echoed the latta cook. "Alea, njonji 
minta ampon, njonja, alia suda, njonja!'^ 

"Come and sit down for a little,'* said Eva. 

He went with her: 

"You're so cheerful," he said. 

"Aren't you?" 

"No, I've been feeling sad, lately.** 

"I too. I told you so yesterday. It's something i 
the Labuwangi air. There's no telling what tiiis tabl 
turning has in store for us." 

They sat down in the back-verandah. He sighed. 

"What's the matter?" she asked. 

"I can't help it," he said. "I care for jrou so. 
love you." 

She was silent for an instant. 

"Again?" she then said, reproachfully, 

* "Throw down !" 

'Malay fruits resembling litchis. 
'Another fruit, also called mangosteens. 

* "Out of this, cook, outside !" 

' "Oh, ma'am, beg pardon, ma*am, oh, enough,enoisgfi, ma'am 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 87 

^ did not answer. 

told you, mine is not a passionate nature. I am 
I love my husband and my child. Let's be 
ds, Van Helderen." 
m fighting against it ; but it's no use." 
m fond of Ida ; I wouldn't make her unhappy for 
^orld." 

don't believe I was ever fond of her." 
'an Helderen ! . . ." 

F I was, it was only for her pretty face. But, white n 
jh Ida may be, she's a nonna . . . with her 
isies and her childish little tragedies. I didn't see 
much at first, but I see it now, of course. I've 
ivomen from Europe before I met you. But you 
a revelation to me, a revelation of all the charm 
irtistic grace that a woman can possess. . . . 
the exotic side in you appeals to my own exotic 

value your friendship highly. Let things remain 
ey are." 

ometimes it's just as though I were mad, some- 
'* I dream . . . that we're travelling in Eu- 
together, that we're in Italy or Paris. Some- 
; I see us sitting together over a fire, in a room of 
>wn, you talking of art, I of the modem, social 
opments of our time. But, after that, I see us 
intimately. . . ." 
''an Helderen! . . ." 

t's no longer any use your warning me. I love 
Eva, Eva. . . ." 

don't believe there's another country where there's 
uch love going about as in India ! I suppose it's 
eat. . . ." 




88 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

"Don't crush me with your sarcasm. No other 
\voman ever made such an appeal to my whole soul 
and body as you do, Eva. . . ." 

She shrugged her shoulders. 

"Don't be angry. Van Helderen, but I can't stand 
those commonplaces. Let us be sensible. I have a 
charming husband, you have a dear little wife. We're 
all good, pleasant friends together/' 

"You're so cold!" 

"I don't want to spoil the happiness of our friend- 
ship." 

"Friendship!" 

"Friendship is wliat I said. There is nothing I value 
so highly, except my domestic hapfmiess. I couldn't 
live without friends. I am happy in my husband and 
my child ; next to these I need friends, above all things." I 

"So that they can admire you, so that you can rule / 
over them !" said he, angrily. 

She looked him in the face: 

"Perhaps," she said, coolly. "Perhaps I have a need 
of admiration and of ruling over others. 'We all have | 
our weaknesses." . 

"I have mine," he said, bitterly. 

"Come," she said, in a kinder tone, "let us remain 
friends." 

"I am terribly unhappy," he said, in a dull voice. *T 
feel as if I had missed everything in life. I have never | 
been out of Java and I feel there's something lacking 
in me because I have never seen ice and snow. Snow: ^ 
I think of it as a sort of mysterious, unknown purity, 
which I long for, but which I never seem to mttt 
When shall I see Europe ? When shall I cease to rave 
about II Trovatore and manage to get to Bajrreuth? 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 89 

When shall I come within range of you, Eva? I'm 
feehng for everything with my antennae, like a wing- 
less insect. . . . What is my life ! . . . With 
Ida, with three children, whom I foresee growing 
into the likeness of their mother ! I shall remain con- 
troller for years and then — possibly — ^be promoted to 
assistant-resident . . . and so remain. And then 
at last I shall receive my dismissal—or ask for it — 
and go to Sukatumi to live, to vegetate on a small pen- 
sion. I feel everything in me longing for idleness. 



» 



"You like your work, for all that ; you're a first-rate 
official. Eldersma always says that in India a man 
who doesn't work and who doesn't love his work is 
lost" 

"Your nature is not made for love and mine is not 
made for work: not for that and nothing else. I can 
work for an aim that I see before me, a beautiful aim; 
but I can't work . . . just for work's sake and 
to fill the emptiness in my life." 

"Your aim is India. . . ." 

"A fine phrase," he said. "It may be so for a man 
like the resident, who has succeeded in his career and 
who never has to sit studying the Colonial List and cal- 
culating on the illness of the this man or the death of 
that ... so that he may get promoted. It's all 
right for a man like Van Oudi jck, who, in his genuine, 
idealistic honesty, thinks that his aim is India, not be- 
cause of Holland, but because of India herself, because 
of the native whom he, the official, protects against the 
tyranny of the landlords and planters. I am more 
cjmical by nature. • . 



ft 




90 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

''But don't be so lukewarm about India. It's not 
merely a fine phrase: I feel like that myself. India is 
our whole greatness, the greatness of us Hollanders. 
Listen to foreigners speaking of India: they are all 
enchanted with her glory, with our methods of coloni- 
zation. . • . Don't have anything to do with the 
wretched Dutch spirit of our people at home, who know 
notliing about India, who always have a sneering word 
for India, who are so petty and stiff and bourgeois and 
narrow-minded. . . /' 

"I didn't know that you were so enthu^astic about 
India. Only yesterday you were feeling anguished here 
and I was standing up for my coimtry. . • ." 

"Oh, it gives me a sort of shudder, the mystery in the 
evenings, where seems to threaten I don't know what. 
I'm afraid of the future, some danger ahead of us I . 
. I feel that I, personally, am still very remote 
from India, though I don't want to be ; that I miss the 
art amid which I was educated ; that I miss here, in our 
human life, the plastic beauty which both my parents 
always pointed out to me. . . • But I am not un- 
just. And I think that India, as our colony, is great ; 
I think that we, in our colony, are great • . .** 

"Formerly, perhaps. Nowadays, ever3rthing is going 
wrong ; nowadays, we are no longer great. You have 
an artistic nature; you are always looking for artistic 
perfection in India, though you seldom find it And 
then your mind is confronted with that greatness, that 
glory. That's the poetry of it. The prose of it is a 
gigantic but exhausted colony, still governed from Hol- 
land with one idea ; the pursuit of gain. The reality is 
not an India under a great ruler, but an India imder a 
petty, mean-souled blood-sucker; the country sucked 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 91 

dry ; and the real population — ^not the Hollander, who 
spends his Indian money at the Hague» but the popula- 
tion» the native population» attached to the native soil — 
oppressed by the disdain of its overlord» who once im- 
proved it with his own blood» and now threatening to 
revolt against this oppression and disdain. 
You» as an artist» feel the danger approaching» vaguely» 
like a cloud in the sky» in the Indian night ; I see the 
danger as something very real, something rising — be- 
fore Holland — if not from America and Japan» then 
out of the soil of India herself. . . " 

She smiled: 

"I like you when you talk like that," she said. "I 
should end by falling in with your views." 

"If I could achieve that by talking!" he laughed» bit- 
terly» getting up. ''My half hour is over: the resident 
is expecting me and he doesn't like waiting a minute, 
joodbye • . . and forgive me." 

"TeU me»" she said, "am I a flirt?" 

''No»" he replied. "You are what you are. And I 
can't help it : I love you. • . . Fm always stretch- 
ing out my poor antennae. That is my fate. . . . " 

"I shall help you to forget me," said she» with af- 
fectionate conviction. 

He gave a little laugh» bowed and went away. She 
saw him cross the road to the groimds of the resident's 
house» where an oppasser met him. 

"Really life, when all is said, is one long self-de- 
reption» a wandering amid illusions»" she thought» sadly» 
drearily. "A great aim, an universal aim. . . or 
even a modest aim for one's self, for one's own body 
indsoul: O God, how little it allis! And how we roam 
about» knowing nothing ! And each of us seeks his own 




92 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

little aim, his illusion. The only happy people are sim- 
ply exceptions like Leonie van Oudijck, who lives no 
more than a beautiful flower does, or a beautiful ani- 
mal/' 

Her child came toddling up to her, a pretty, fair- 
haired, plump little boy. 

"Sonny," she thought, "how will it be with you? 
What will be your portion ? Oh, perhaps nothing new 
Perhaps a repetition of what has so often been before 
Life is a story which is always being repeated. . • 
Oh, when we feel like this, how oppressive India can be 



»f 



She kissed her boy; her tears trickled over his fair 
curls. 

"Van Oudijck has his residency ; I my little cirde of 
. . . admirers and subjects ; Frans his love . • . 
for me : we all have our playthings, just like my little 
Onno playing with his little horse. How small we are, 
how small ! . . . All our lives, we make believe, 
pretending, imagining all sorts of things, thinking that 
we are giving a path or a direction to our poor, aimless 
little lives. Oh, why am I like this sonny? Sonny, 
sonny, how will it be with you ?*' 




CHAPTER XI 

The Patjaram sugar-factory was fourteen miles from 
Labuwangi and twelve from Ngadjiwa and belonged to 
the half-Indo/ half-Solo family of De Luce, a family 
who had once been millionaires,^ but were no longer so 
very well off, owing to the recent sugar-crisis, though 
they still supported a numerous household. This fami- 
ly, which always kept together — ^the old mother and 
grandmother, a Solo princess ; the eldest son, the mana- 
ger ; three married daughters and their husbands, clerks 
in the factory, all living in its shadow ; three younger 
sons employed in the factory ; the many g^ndchildren, 
playing roimd and about the factory ; the great-grand- 
children springing up round and about the factory — ^this 
family maintained the old Indian traditic«is which, at 
one time universal, are now becoming rarer thanks to 
the more frequent intercourse with Europeans. The 
mother-gfrandmother was the daughter of a Solo prince, 
and had married a young and enterprising bohemian 
adventurer, Ferdinand de Luce, a member of a French 
titled family in Mauritius, who, after wandering about 
for many years in search of his place in the sun, had 
sailed to India as a ship's steward and, after all sorts of 
vicissitudes, had found himself stranded in Solo, where 
he had achieved fame through a dish prepared with to- 
matoes and another consisting of stuffed lomboks* 
Tbanks to these recipes, Ferdinand de Luce won the 

* Eurasian, including sinjo and nonna, 

' In guilders (twelve guilders are roughly equal to a soverdgn). 

■Chilfiea. 




94 THE HIDDEN FORCE, 

favour of the Solo princess whose hand he afterward 
obtained and even that of the old Susuhunan.^ After 
his marriage, he became a landowner and, according to 
the Solo adat,^ a vassal of the Susuhunan, whom he 
supplied daily with rice and fruits for the household of 
the dalent.^ Then he had launched out into sugar» 
divining the millions which a lucky fate held in store 
for him. He had died before the crisis, laden widi 
wealth and honours. 

The old grandmother, in whom there was not a trace 
left of the young princess whom Ferdinand de Luce had 
wedded to promote his fortunes, was never approached 
by the servants and the Javanese staff save with a cring- 
ing reverence; and everybody gave her the title of 
Raden-Aju Pangeran. She did not speak a word of 
Dutch. Wrinkled like a shrivelled fruit, with her / 
clouded eyes and her withered, betel-stained mouth, 
she was peacefully living her last years, always dressed 
in a dark silk kdbaai, the neck and the light sleeves of 
which were fastened with precious stones. Before her ^ 
sun-bitten gaze there hovered the vision of her former \ 
dalem grandeur, which she had abandoned for love of j 
that French nobleman-cook who had pandered to her 
father's taste with his dainty recipes ; in her ears buzzed 
the constant murmur of the centrifugal separators, like 
the screws of steamers, throughout the milling-season, 
lasting for months on end ; around her were her chil- 
dren, grandchildren and great-grandchildren: the sons 
and daughters addressed as Raden and Raden-Adjeng 
by the servants ; all of them still surrounded by the pale 

* Emperor or sultan. 
•Custom, usage. 

• Palace. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 95 

halo of their Solo descent. The eldest daughter was 
married to a full-blooded» fair-haired Dutchman; the 
son who followed her to an Armenian girl; the two 
others were married to Indos, both brown, and their 
brown children — ^who were also married and also had 
children — ^mingled with the fair-haired family of the 
eldest daughter; and the pride of the whole family was 
the youngest son and brother, Adrian, or Addie, who 
made love to Doddie van Oudijck and who was con- 
stantly at Labuwangi, the busy milling season notwith- 
standing. 

In this family, traditions were still maintained, now 
quite obsolete, such as people remembered in the Indian 
families of long ago. Here you still saw, in the 
grounds, in the back verandah, the numberless babus,^ 
one rubbing bedak into a fine powder, another preparing 
dupa,^ another poimding sambal,^ all with dreamy eyes, 
all with slender, nimbly-moving fingers. Here the habit 
still prevailed of an endless array of dishes at the rijst- 
tafel, with a long row of servants, one after the other, 
solemnly handing round one more vegetable, one more 
lodeh,^ one more dish of chicken, while, squatting be- 
hind the ladies, the babtis pounded sambal in an earth- 
enware mortar, according to the several tastes and re- 
quirements of the sated palates. Here it was still the 
custom, when the family attended the races at Ngad- 
jiwa, for each of the ladies to appear followed by a 
babu, moving slowly, lithely, solemnly ; one babu carry- 
ing a bedak-pot, another a bonbonniére filled with pep- 

* Maid-servants. 

* Incense. 

■ Diverse condiments served with the rijsfiafel 

* Sauces for vegetables. 




96 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

permints, or a pair of race-glasses, or a fan, or a scent- 
bottle; the whole resembling a ceremonial procession 
bearing the insignia of state. Here, too, you still 
found the old-fashioned hospitality; the row of 
spare-rooms open to any one who cared to knock: 
here all could stay as long as they pleased: no one 
was asked the object of his journey or the date of 
departure. A great simplicity of mind, an all-embrac- 
ing, spontaneous, innate cordiality provided together 
with an imbounded weariness and tedium, a life of no 
ideas and but few words, the ready, gentle smile making 
good the lack of both; material life full and sated: a 
life of cool drinks and kwee-kwees^ and rujak handed 
round all day, three habtis being specially appointed to 
make rujak and kwee-kwees. Any number of animals 
were scattered over the estate : there was a cage full of 
monkeys ; a few lories ; dogs, cats, some tame squirrels 
and a kantjil,^ an exquisite little deer which ran about 
loose. The house, built on to the factory, groaning dur- 
ing the milling-season with the murmur of the 
machinery — the noise like the screw of a steamer — 
was spacious and furnished with the old, old-fashioned 
furniture: the low wooden bedsteads with four carved 
bedposts hung with curtains ; the heavy-legged tables ; 
the rocking chairs with peculiarly roimd backs: all 
things which are now no longer obtainable ; cver)rthing 
without the slightest touch of modernity, except — and 
only during the milling-season — ^the electric lig^t in the 
front-verandah ! The occupants were always in indoor 
dress: the men in white or blue-and-white striped pyja- 
mas; the ladies in sarong and kabaai, toying wiüi a 

* Native cakes, pastry. 

' A dwarf deer, the size of an average dog. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 97 

monkey or lory or kantjil, in simplicity of mind, with 
ever the same pleasant jest, drawling and drowsy, and 
the same gentle little laugh. The passions, which were 
certainly there, slumbered, in that gentle smile. Then, 
when the milling-season was over, when all the bustle 
was over, when the files of sugar-carts, drawn by the 
superb sappis,^ with glossy brown hides, had brought 
an ever-increasing store of canes over the ampas^-cov- 
cred road, which was cut to pieces by the broad cart- 
ruts, when the bibif had been bought for next year 
and the machines were stopped : then came the sudden 
relaxation after the incessant labour, the long, long 
holiday, the many months* rest, the craving for fes- 
tivity and enjoyment ; the big dinner given by the lady 
of the house, followed by a ball and tableaux-vivants; 
the whole house full of visitors, who stayed on and on, 
known and unknown ; the old, wrinkled grandmamma, 
the lady of the house, the Raden-Aju, Mrs. de Luce, 
whatever you liked to call her, amiable with her dull 
eyes and her ^iViA-mouth, amiable to one and all, with 
always an anak-mas, a "golden child," a poor little 
adopted princess, at her heels, carrying a gold betel- 
box behind the g^eat princess from Solo: a slender lit- 
tle woman of eight years old, her front hair cut into a 
fringe, her forehead whitened with moist bedak, her 
already rounded Ihtle breasts confined in the little pink 
silk kabaai, with the miniature gold sarong round the 
slender hips ; a doll, a toy for the Raden-Aju, for Mrs. 
de Luce for the Dowager de Luce. And for the com- 
pounds there were the popular rejoicings, a time- 

*Oxcn. 
" Cane*fit>re 
•Seed. 




98 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

honoured lavishness, in which all Patjaram shared, ac- 
cording to the secular tradition which was alwajrs ob- 
served, despite any crisis or unrest 

The milling-season and the rejoicings were now over. 
There was comparative peace indoors; and a languor- 
ous Indian calm had set in. But Mrs. van Oudijck, 
Theo and Doddie had come over for the festivities and 
were staying on a few days longer at Patjaram. A 
great circle of people sat round the marble table 
covered with glasses of S3rrup, lemonade and whisky- 
and-soda; they did not speak much, but rocked lux- 
tuiously, exchanging an occasional word. Mrs. de 
Luce and Mrs. van Oudijck spoke Malay, but did not 
say much. A gentle, good-humoured boredom drifted 
down on all those rocking people. It was strange to 
see the different types: the pretty, milk-white Léonie 
beside the yellow, wrinkled Raden-Aju Dowager; 
Theo, pale and fair as a Dutchman, with his full, 
sensual lips, which he inherited from his nonna 
mother ; Doddie, already looking like a ripe .rose, with 
the sparkling irises and black pupils in her black eyes ; 
the manager's son, Achille de Luce, brown, tall and 
stout, whose thoughts ran only on his machinery and 
his bibit; the second son, Roger, brown, short and 
thin, the book-keeper whose thoughts ran only on the 
year's profits, with his little Armenian wife ; the ddest 
daughter, old already, brown, stupidly ugly, with her 
full-blooded Dutch husband, who looked like a peasant ; 
the other sons and daughters, in every shade of brown 
and not easily distinguished one from the other; 
around them the children, the grandchildren, the little, 
golden-skinned adopted children, the habus, the lories 
and the kantjil; and over all these people and children 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 99 

and animals, as though shaken down upon them, lay 
a good-hearted solidarity; and over all these people 
there also lay a common pride in their Solo ancestors, 
crowning all their heads with a pale halo of Javanese 
aristocracy; and the Armenian daughter-in-law and 
the bucolic Dutch son-in-law were not least proud of 
this descent. 

The liveliest of all these elements, which were melt- > 
ing into one another, as it were, through long com- 
munal life under the patriarchal roofs, was the young- 
est son, Adrien de Luce, Addie, in whom the blood 
of the Solo princess and that of the French adventurer 
had blended harmoniously. The admixture, it is true, 
had given him no brains, but it had given him the 
physical beauty of a young sinjo, with something of 
the Moor about it, something southern and seductive, 
something Spanish, as though in this last child the two 
alien racial elements had for the first time mingled 
harmoniously, for the first time been wedded in abso- 
lute mutual knowledge ; as though in him, this last child 
after so many children, adventurer and princess had 
for the first time met in harmony. Addie seemed 
to possess not a jot of intellect or imagination ; he was 
unable to imite two ideas into one composite thought; 
he merely felt, with the vague good-nature which had 
descended upon the whole family. For the rest, he 
was like a beautiful animal, degenerate in soul and 
brain, but degenerate to nothing, to one great nothing, 
to one great emptiness, while his body had become like 
a renewal of race, full of strength and beauty, while 
his marrow and his blood and his flesh and his muscles 
had become one harmony of physical seductiveness, so 
purely, stupidly, beautifully sensual that its harmony 




100 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

had for a woman an immediate appeal. The boy had 
but to s^ppear, like a beautif til, southern god, for all the 
women to look at him and take him into the depths of 
their imagination, to recall him to their minds again 
and again ; the boy had but to go to a race-ball at Ngad- 
jiwa, for all the girls to fall in love with him. He 
plucked love where he found it, in plenty, in the Pat- 
jaram compounds. And everything feminine was in 
love with him, from his mother to his little nieces. 
Doddie van Oudijck was infatuated with him. From 
a child of seven she had been in love, a hundred times 
and more, with every one who passed before the glance 
of her flashing pupils, but never yet as with Addie. 
Her love shone so strongly from her whole being that 
it was like a flame, that everybody saw it and smiled. 
The milling-feast had been to her one long delight 
. . . when she danced with him ; one long martyr- 
dom . . . when he danced with others. He had 
not asked her to marry him, but she thought of asking 
him and was prepared to die if he refused. She knew 
that the resident, her father, would object: he did not 
like those De Luces, that Solo-French crew, as he called 
fhem ; but, if Addie was willing, her father would con- 
sent, rather than see her die. To this child of love that 
lovable boy was the world, the universe, life itsdf . He 
made love to her, he kissed her on the lips, but this was 
no more than he did to others, unthinkingly: he kissed 
other girls as well. And, if he could, he went further, 
like a devastating young god, an tmthinking god. But 
he still stood more or less in awe of the resident's 
daughter. He possessed neither pluck nor eflfrontery, 
his passicMis were not markedly selective, he looked on 
a woman as a woman and was so much sated with con- 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 101 

quest that obstacles did not stimtilate him. His garden 
was full of flowers which all lifted themselves up to 
him ; he stretched out his hand, almost without looking ; 
he merely plucked. 

As they sat rocking about the table, they saw him 
come through the garden; and the eyes of all these 
women turned to him as to a young tempter, arriving 
in the simshine, which touched him as with a halo. 
The Raden-Aju Dowager smiled and gazed at him, 
enamoured of her son, her favorite ; squatting on the 
ground behind her, the little golden adopted child 
stared with wide-open eyes ; the sisters looked out, the 
little nieces looked out and Doddie turned pale and 
Leonie van Oudijck's milky whiteness became tinged 
with a rosy shade which mingled with the glamour of 
her smile. She glanced at Theo mechanically; their 
eyes met. And these souls of sheer love, love of the 
eyes, of the lips, love of the glowing flesh, imderstood 
each other; and Theo's jealousy of Leonie burnt so 
fiercely that the rosy shade died away and she became 
pale and fearful, with a sudden, unreasoning fear 
which shuddered through her usual indifference, while 
the tempter, in his halo of sunshine, came nearer and 
nearer. . • . 




CHAPTER XII 

Mrs. van Oidijck had promised to stay at Patjaram 
a few days longen; and she disliked the pro^>ect really, 
not feeling quite at home in these old-fashioned Indian 
surroundings. But when Addie appeared she thought 
better of it In the deepest secrecy of her heart this 
woman worshipped her sensuality as in the tempte of 
her egoism ; here the milk-white Creole offered tqp all 
the most intimate dreams of her rosy imaginatioa and 
unquenchable longing ; and in this cult she had achieved 
as it were an art, a knowledge, a science, that of de- 
ciding, for herself, at a glance, what it was that at- 
tracted her in the man who approached her, in the man 
who passed by her. In one it was his bearing, his 
voice; in another it was the set of his neck on his 
shoulders ; in a third it was the way his hand rested on 
his knee ; but, whatever it was, she saw it directly, at a 
glance ; she knew it immediately, in an instant ; she had 
judged the passer-by in an indivisible second ; and she 
at once knew whom she rejected — and they were the 
majority — and whom she approved — and they were 
many — alike. And those whom she rejected in that 
indivisible moment of her supreme judgement, with 
that single glance, in that single instant, need cherish no 
hope: she, the priestess, did not admit them to the 
temple. To the others, the temple was open, but only 
behind the curtain of her correctitude. However 
shameless, she was always correct, her love was always 
secret ; to the world, she was nothing but the chanmng, 
smiling wife of the resident, a little indolent in her 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 103 

but ;winning everybody with her smile. When 
did not see her, they spoke ill of her ; when they 
ïr, she conquered them at once. Among all of 
vith whom she shared the secret of her love there 
i a certain freemasonry, a mystery of worship; 
y, when two of them met, would they whisper a 
or two, at a similar recollection. And Leonie 
it smiling, milk-white, tranquil in the gfreat circle 
I a marble table, with at least two or three men 
lew the secret It did not disturb her tranquillity 
T her smile. She smiled to the pitch of boredom, 
ly would her glance glide from one to the other, 
>he judged them once again, with her infallible 
of judgement. Scarcely would the memories of 
3urs rise hazily within her, scarcely would she 
>f tlie assignation for the following day. The 
lay wholly in the mystery of the meeting and 
was never uttered before the profane world. If 
in the circle sought to touch her foot, she drew 
vay. She never flirted, she was even sometimes 
; tedious, stiff, correct, smiling. In the free- 
ry between herself and the initiated, she imveiled 
'stery ; but before the world, in the circles about 
irble tables, she vouchsafed not a glance, not a 
re of the hand or knee. 

had been bored during these days at Patjaram, 
ich she had accepted the invitation to the milling- 
ecause she had refused it in past years ; but now 
le saw Addie approaching she was bored no 
Of course she had known him for years ; and 
i seen him grow from a child into a boy, into a 
ind she had even kissed him as a boy. She had 
go judged him, the tempter. But now, as he 




104 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

came forward with his halo of sunshine, she judgec 
him once more ; his comely, slender sensuality and the 
glow of his tempter's eyes in the shadowy brown oi 
his young Moorish face ; the curving lines of his lips 
formed for kissing, with the yoimg down of his mous 
tache ; the tigerish strength and litheness of which Doc 
Juan might have owned: it all dazzled her^ made hei 
blink her eyes. While he greeted his mother's visitor 
and sat down, a volley of wordy merriment ran rounc 
that circle of languid conversation and drowsy thought 
— as though he were casting a handful of his stmshine 
of the gold-dust of his temptation over them all, ovei 
all those women, mother and sisters and nieces anc 
Doddie and Leonie — Leonie looked at him, as they al 
looked at him, and her eyes slipped down to his hands 
She could have kissed those hands of his, she suddenl] 
became smitten with the shape of the fingers, with the 
brown, tigerish strength ft f the hands themselves: sfc 
suddenly became smitten with all the wild jroung anima! 
vigour which breathed like a fragrance of tmuhooè 
from the whole of his boyish frame. She felt hei 
blood throbbing, almost uncontrollably, despite hei 
great art of remaining cool and correct in the cirdef 
around the marble tables. She was no longer bored 
She had an object to fill the days that were coming. 
Only . . . her blood throbbed so violently that 
Theo had noticed her blush and the quivering of hci 
eyelids. Enamoured of her as he was, his eyes ha<3 
penetrated her soul. And, when they rose to go tc 
lunch in the back-verandah, where the babus had al- 
ready squatted to crush everybody's different vtet? 

^ Samba! made of Spanish pepper. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 105 

vith pestles and mortars, he whispered two words be- 
ween his teeth : 

"Take care !" 

She started; she felt that he was threatening her. 
rhis had never happened before: all who had shared 
n the mystery had always respected her. She started 
K> violently, she was so indignant ^t this wrenching 
iway of the temple-curtain — in a verandah full of 
people — ^that her tranquil indifference seethed with 
inger and she was roused to rebellion in her ever-serene 
self-mastery. But she looked at him and she saw him 
^road and tall and fair, a young edition of her husband, 
[lis Indian blood showing only in his sensual mouth ; 
and she did not want to lose him ; she wanted to keep 
liis type beside the type of the Moorish tempter. She 
wanted thent both ; she wanted to taste the different 
:harm of their respective types, that white-skinned 
Dutch type, so very slightly Indian, and Addie's wild, 
mimal type. Her soul quivered, her blood thrilled, 
while the long array of dishes was solemnly handed 
"Otmd. She was in such a revolt as she had never 
experienced before. The awakening from her placid 
ndiflFerence was like a rebirth, like an unknown emo- 
ion. She was surprised to remember that she was 
:hirty and to feel this for the first time. A feverish 
lepravity blossomed up within her. as though bursting 
into intoxicating red flowers. She looked at Doddie, 
fitting beside Addie : the poor child, glowing with love, 
was hardly able to eat. . . . Oh, the tempter, who 
nad only to appear! . . . And Leonie, in that 
fever of depravity, rejoiced at being the rival of a step- 
daughter so many years younger than herself. She 
would look after her, she would even warn Van 




106 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

Oudijck. Would it ever come to a match ? What (J 
she care : what harm could marriage do to her, Leoni 
Oh, the tempter ! Never had she dreamt of him thi 
the supreme lover, in her rosy hours of siesta! Tl 
was no charm of little cherubs ; this was the stark ra< 
ance of tigerish enchantment: the golden glitter of 1 
eyes, the sinewy litheness of his stealthy claw. . . 
And she smiled to Theo, with just one glance of se 
surrender, a very exceptional thing at the lunchec 
table. As a rule, she never surrendered herself, 
public. Now she surrendered herself, for a mome 
pleased by his jealousy. She was madly fond of h 
too. She thought it delightful, that he should lo 
pale and angry with jealousy. And round about 1 
the afternoon was one blaze of sunlight and the sami 
stung her dry palate. Faint beads of perspirati 
stood on her forehead and trickled down her bos< 
under the lace of her kabam. And she would ha 
liked to clasp them both, Theo and Addie, in c 
embrace . . . pressing them both to her amorc 
body. • . 




CHAPTER XIII 

rhc night was like a veil of softest velvet dropping 
lowly from the heavens. The moon, in its first quar- 
er, displayed a very narrow» horizontal sickle, like a 
Turkish crescent, between whose points the unlit por- 
ion of the disk was faintly washed in against the sky. 
V. long avenue of tjemara-trees stretched in front of 
[le house, their trunks straight, their leafage like drawn 
>lush or ravelled velvet, showing like blots of cotton- 
»rool against the clouds, which, drifting low, announced 
he approaching rainy monsoon fully a month before- 
land. Wood-pigeons cooed at intervals and a tokkè 
vas calling, first with two rattling, preliminarj- notes, 
IS though timing up, then with his call of "Tokkè! 
^okkèr four or five times repeated ; first loudly, then 
ubmissively and more faintly. 

A gardoè^ in his hut in front of the house on the 
iigh-road, where the sleeping passer^ now showed its 
mpty stalls, struck eleven wooden blows on his tong- 
ong^ and, when a last, belated cart drove past, he 
ried, in a hoarse voice: 

"Werr-dar'^ 

The night was like softest velvet dropping slowly 
rom the heavens, like a whirling mystery, like an op- 
>re5v<;ive menace of the future. But, in that mystery, 
mder the frayed black dots, the ravelled plush of the 

* Night-watchman. 

• Market. 

■ Hollow block of wood. 
•"Who goes there?" 




108 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

tjemaras, there was an inexorable incitement to 1 
the windless night, like a whisper that this hour 
not be wasted. True, the tokkè was gibing like a 
ing imp, with a certain dry humour; and the g 
with his 'Werdar startled the hearer ; but the 
pigecMis cooed softly and the whole night was 
world of softest velvet, like a great alcove curtail 
the plush of the tjemaras, while the distant, sultr 
clouds, hanging all that month on the horizcm, 
the skies with an oppressive spell. Mystery ai 
chantment hovered tiirough the velvety night, d 
down in the twiHt alcove ; and at their touch all tl 
was dissolved, the very soul dissolved, leaving 
warm, sensuous vision. . • . 

The tokkè fell silent, the gardoè dropped aslec 
velvety night reigned like an enchantress crowne 
the sickle of the moon. They came walking s 
two youthful figures, their arms about each < 
waists, lips seeking lips under the tyranny of t 
chantment. They were as shadows under the < 
velvet of the tjemaras; and softly, in their whit 
ments, they dawned on the beholder like the c 
pair of lovers who are forever and everywhere i 
ing themselves. And here above all the lovers 
inevitable in the enchanted night, one with the 
conjured up by the all-powerful enchantress ; hei 
were inevitable, unfolding like a twin flower o 
destined love, in the velvet mystery of the com] 
heavens. 

And the tempter seemed to be the son of that 
the son of that inexorable queen of the night, b 
with him the tender girl. In her ears the night s 
to sing with his voice ; and her small soul melted 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 109 

her tender weakness, under the magic powers. She 
walked on against his side, feeling the warmth of his 
body penetrate her yearning maidenhood; and she 
lifted her brimming gaze to him, with the languid light 
' of her sparkling pupils glittering like a diamcmd in her 
\ irises. He, drunk with the power of the night, the 
enchantress, who was as his mother, thought first of 
2: leading her still farther, no longer thinking of reality, 
r no longer feeling any awe of her or of any <Kie what- 
? ever; thought of leading her still farther, past the 
: slumbering gardoè, across the high road, into the com- 
potmd, which lay hidden yonder between the stately 
plumes of the coco-palms that would form a canopy to 
their love; of leading her to a hiding-place, a house 
which he knew, a bamboo hut the door of which would 
be opened to him . . . when suddenly she stopped 
. . . and started . • . and gripped his arm 
and pressed herself still more tightly against him and 
implored him to go no farther. She was frightened. 
*'Why not ?" he asked, gently, in his soft voice, which 
was as deep and velvety as the night. 'Why not to- 
night, to-night at last? . . . There is no danger.'* 
But she shuddered and shook and entreated: 
"Addie, Addie, no ... no ... I daren't 
go any farther. . . . I'm frightened that the gar- 
- doe will see us . . . and then . . . there's a 
hadji walking over there ... in a white turban. 



99 



He looked out at the road: on the other side, the 
compound lay waiting, under the canopy of the coco- 
palms, with the bamboo hut whose door would be 
opened to him. 

"A hadji? . . . Where, Doddie? I don't see 
any one. . .** 




110 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

"He crossed the road; he looked back at us; he sa 
us: I saw his eyes gleaming; and he went into tl 
compound, behind those trees." 

"Darling, I saw nothing, there's no one there." 

"Yes, there is ! Yes, there is ! Addie, I daren't g( 
oh, do let us go back !" 

His handsome Moorish face became overcast; 1 
already saw the door of tlie little hut opened by the o 
woman whom he knew, who worshipped him as eve; 
woman worshipped him, from his mother to his litl 
nieces. 

And he again tried to persuade her, but she refuse 
stood still, clinging to the ground with her little fe< 
Then they turned back and the clouds were sultrier, Ic 
on the horizon, and the velvety darkness fell mo 
thickly, like warm snow, and the ravelled tjemaras we 
fuller and blacker than before. The house loomed i 
before them, sunk in sleep, with not a light showin 
And he entreated her, he implored her not to leave hi 
that night, saying that he would die, that night, witho 
her. . . . Already she was yielding, promisin 
with her arms around his neck . . . when aga: 
she started and again cried: 

"Addie! Addie! . . . There he is agaii 
. . . That white figure ! . . ." 

"You appear to see had j is everywhere!" he sai( 
banteringly. 

"Look for yourself then . . . over there!" 

He looked and now really saw a white figure a] 
proaching them in the front-verandah. But it was 



woman. 



Mamma!" cried Doddie, in dismay. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 111 

It was indeed Léonie, slowly coming towards them : 
''Doddie/' she said, gently, "I have been hunting for 
you everywhere. I was so frightened, I didn't know 
where you were. Why do you go out walking so late ? 
Addie," she continued, gently, in kind, motherly tones, 
as though addressing two children, "how can you 
behave like this and be out with Doddie so late ? You 
really mustn't do it again: I mean it I I know that 
there's nothing in it; but suppose any one saw you! 
You must promise me never to do it again! YouTl 
promise, won't you ?" 

She begged this prettily, in tones of engaging re- 
proach, as though to show that she quite understood 
him, quite realized that they were yearning for each 
other in that velvet night of enchantment, forgiving 
them at once in the words which she uttered. She 
looked like an angel, with her round, white face in the 
loose, waving, fair hair, in the white silk kimono which 
hung roimd her in supple folds. And she drew Doddie 
to her and kissed the girl and wiped away Doddie's 
tears. And then, gently, she pushed Doddie away, to 
her room in the annexe, where she slept safely between 
so many other rooms full of the daughters and grand- 
children of old Mrs. de Luce. And, while Doddie, 
softly crying, went to the loneliness of that room, 
Leonie continued to speak words of gentle reproach to 
Addie, warning him, prettily now, as a sister might do, 
while he, brown and handsome, with his Moorish look, 
stood before in bantering confusion. They were in the 
dusk of the dark front-verandah ; and the night outside 
pxlialcd its inexorable breath of luxuriance, love and 
velvety mystery. And she reproached him and warned 
him and said that Doddie was a child and that he musn't 



112 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

take advantage of her. He shrugged his shoulders» <J 
defended himself, with his bantering manner. His 
words fell upon her like gold-dust, while his eyes glit- 
tered like a tiger's. As she argued persuasively that he 
must really spare Doddie in the future, she seized his 
hand, that hand of which she was enamoured, his 
fingers, his palm; which she could have kissed that \ 
morning in her confusion ; and she pressed it and al- 
most cried and implored him to have mercy on Doddie. 
. . He suddenly realized it, he looked at her sud- 
denly with the lightening of his wild-animal glance and 
he thought her beautiful, thought her a woman, white 
as milk, and he knew her for a priestess full of secret ' 
knowledge. And he too spoke of Doddie, coming 
closer to Léonie, touching her, pressing her hands be- 
tween his two hands, giving her to understand that he I 
understood. And, still pretending to weep and entreat 
and implore, she led him on and opened the door of her 
room. He saw a faint light and her maid Oorip^ who 
disappeared through the outer door and lay down to 
sleep there, like a faithful dog, on a little mat Then 
she gave him a laugh of welcome ; and he, the tempter, 
was amazed at the glowing laugh and this white, fair- 
haired temptress, who flung off her silken kimono and 
stood before him, like a nude statue, spreading out her 
arms. 

Oorip, outside, listened for a moment. And she was 
about to He down to sleep, smiling, dreaming of the 
lovely sarongs which the karndjeng would give her to* 
morrow, w^hen she started as she saw walking over the 
grounds and disappearing in the night a hadji in a 
white turban. . . . 




CHAPTER XIV 

That day, the Regent of Ngadjiwa, Sunario's younger 
brother, was to pay a visit at Patjaram, because 
Mrs. van Oudijck was leaving on the following 
day. They sat waiting for him in the front-verandah, 
rocking about the marble table, when his carriage came 
rattling down the long avenue of tjemaras. They all 
stood up. And now it appeared more plainly than ever 
how highly respected the old Raden-Aju, the dowager, 
was, how closely related to the Susuhunan himself, for 
the regent alighted and, without taking another step, 
squatted on the lowest stair of the verandah and 
salaamed respectfully, while, behind his back, a re- 
tainer, holding up the closed gold-and-white pajong 
like a furled sun, made himself still smaller and shrank 
together in self-annihilation. And the old woman, the 
Solo princess, who saw the dalcm shining before her 
eyes again, went to him and welcomed the regent in 
all the courtesy of palace Javanese, the language spoken 
among princely equals, till the regent rose, and, follow- 
ing her, approached the family circle. And the manner 
in which he then for the first time bowed to the wife 
of his resident, however polite, was almost condescend- 
ing, compared with his obsequiousness of a moment 
ago. . . . He now sat down between Mrs. de 
Luce and Mrs. van Oudijck and a drawling conversa- 
tion began. The Regent of Ngadjjwa was a different 
type from his brother Sunario, taller, coarser, without 
the other's look of a wo^an^-puppet ; though younger, 
he locJced the older of the two, with his eyes seamed 



114 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

with passion: the passion for women, for wine, the 
passion for opium, Üie passicm, above all, for gambling. 
And a silent thought seamed to flash up in that listless, 
drawling conversation, with few words and no ideas, 
ever and again interrupted by the courtly "Saja, saja/' 
behind which they all concealed their secret longing. 
. . They spoke Malay because Mrs. von Oudi jck did 
not dare to talk Javanese, that refined, difficult lan- 
guage, full of shades of etiquette, on which hardly a 
single Hollander ventures when speaking to Javanese 
persons of rank. They spoke little, they rocked gently; 
a vague, courteous smile showed that all were taking 
part in the conversation, though only Mrs. de Luce and 
the regent exchanged an occasional word. 
Until at last the De Luces— the old mother, her son 
Roger, her brown daughters-in-law — ^were no longer 
able to restrain themselves, not even in Mrs. van 
Oudi jck's presence, and laughed shyly while drinks and 
cake were being handed round ; until, notwithstanding 
their courtesy, they rapidly consulted one another, over 
Leonie's head, in a few words of Javanese; until the 
old mother, no longer mistress of herself, at last asked 
her whether she would mind if they had a little game 
of cards. And they all looked at her, the wife of the 
resident, the wife of the high official who, they knew, 
hated the gambling which was their ruin, which was 
destroying the grandeur of the Javanese families whom 
he wished to uphold in spite of themselves. But she 
was too indifferent to think of preventing them with a 
single word of tactful jest, for her husband's sake; she, 
the slave of her own passion, allowed them to be the 
slaves of theirs, in the luxury of their enslavement She 
just smiled and readily permitted the players to with- 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 115 

draw to the wide, square inner gallery, the ladies, eager- 
ly counting the money in their handkerchiefs, alternat- 
ing with the men, until they sat down close together and, 
with their eyes on the cards or spying into one another's 
eyes, gambled and gambled endlessly, winning, losing, 
paying or receiving, just opening and closing the hand- 
kerchiefs containing the money, with not a word, not 
a sound but the faint rustle of the cards in the twilight 
of the inner room. Were they playing slikur or stoot- 
eren?^ Léonie did not know, did not care, indifferent 
to that passion and glad that Addie had remained be- 
side her and that Theo was glaring at him jealously. 
Did he know, did he suspect anything? Would Oorip 
always hold her tongue ? She enjoyed the emoticm and 
she wanted them both, she wanted both white and 
brown; and the fact that Doddie was sitting on the 
other side of Addie and almost swooning as she rocked 
to and fro afforded her an acute and wicked delight. 
What else was there in life but to yield to one's luxuri- 
ous cravings? She had no ambition, was indifferent 
to her exalted station; she, the first woman in the 
residency, who delegated all her duties to Eva 
Eldersma, who was quite unmoved when hundreds of 
people at the receptions at Labuwangi, Ngadjiwa and 
elsewhere greeted her with a ceremony not far short of 
royal honours, who silently, in her rosy, perverse day- 
dreams, with a novel by Catulle Mendes in her hands, 
laughed at that exaggeration of the people up-country, 
where the wife of a resident is treated as a queen. She 
had no other ambition than to be loved by the men 
whom she selected, no other emotional life than the 
worship of her body, like an Aphrodite who chose to 

^Thc first is a native, the second a Dutch card-game. 




116 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

be her own priestess. What did she care if they played 
cards in there, if the Regent of Ngadjiwa ruined him- 
self completely ! On the contrary, she thought it inter- 
esting to watch that downfall on his seamed face; and 
she would take care to be even more carefully groomed» 
to let Oorip massage her face and limbs, to make Oorip 
prepare even more of the white liquid hedoLk, the won- 
derful cream, the magic salve of which Oorip knew 
the secret and which kept her flesh firm and unwrinkled 
and white as a numgistan. She thought it exciting to 
see the Regent of Ngadjiwa burning away like a 
candle, foolishly, brutalized by women, wine, opium 
and cards, perhaps most of all by cards, by the stupid 
staring at cards, gambling, calculating chances which 
defied calculation, superstitiously calculating, reckoning 
by the science of the petangan^ the day and the hour 
when he should play in order to win, the number of the 
players, the amount of his stake. . . . Now and 
then she took a furitive glance at the faces of the 
players, in the inner gallery darkened by twilight and 
the lust of gain, and reflected on what Van Oudijck 
would say, how angry he would be if she told him about 
it. . . . What did it matter to him if the regent's 
family ruined themselves ? What did his policy matter 
to her, what did the whole Dutch policy matter, which 
aims at securing the position of the Javanese nobility, 
through whom it governs the population ? What did it 
matter to her that Van Oudijck, thinking of the noble 
old Pangeran, felt grieved at his children's visible de- 
ch'ne ? None of it mattered to her ; what mattered was 
only herself and Addie and Theo. She must really tell 
her step-son, her fair-haired lover, that afternoon, not 

* Sacred prognostication» of f ortunei 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 117 

to be so jealous. It was becoming obvious ; she was 
sure that Doddie noticed it . . . Didn't she save the 
poor child yesterday ? But how long would that yearn- 
ing last ? Hadn't she better warn Van Oudi jck, like a 
kind, solicitous mother? • . . Her thoughts wan- 
dered languidly ; it was a sultry morning, in those last, 
scorching days of the eastern monsoon, which covers 
the limbs with trickling moisture. Then her body 
quivered. And, leaving Doddie with Addie, she car- 
ried Theo off and reproached him for looking so savage 
with impotent jealousy. She pretended to be a little 
angry and asked him what he wanted. 

They had gone to the side of the house, to the long 
side-verandali ; there were monkeys here in a cage, 
with skins strewn all around from the bananas which 
the animals had eaten, fed to them by the children. 

The luncheon-gong had already sounded twice; the 
babus were squatting in the back verandah, rubbing 
each one's sambal. But the people around the card- 
table seemed to hear nothing. Only the whispering 
voices became louder and shriller; and both Léonie 
and Theo, both Addie and Doddie sat up and listened. 
A dispute seemed suddenly to burst forth between 
Roger and the regent, notwithstanding Mrs. de Luce's 
attempts to hush it. They spoke Javanese, but they 
let all courtesy go to the winds. Like two coolies, they 
abused each other for cheats, constantly interrupted by 
the soothing efforts of old Mrs. de Luce, supported 
by her daughters and daughters-in-law. But the chairs 
were roughly thrust back ; a glass was broken. Roger 
seemed to dash his cards down in anger. All the 
women in the inner room joined in the soothing, with 
high voices, with stifled voices, in whisperSi with little 



118 Tlin HIDDEN FORCK 

exclamations, with little cries of apology and indigna- 
tion. The servants, innumerable, were listening in 
every comer of the house. Then the dispute abated, 
but long, explanatory arguments still continued be^ 
tween the regent and Roger ; the women tried to hush 
them down — "Ssh! . . . Ssh .'"—embarrassed be- 
cause of the resident's wife, looking out to see where 
she might be. And at last all was quiet and they sat 
down silently, hoping that not too much of the dispute 
had reached her ears. Until at length, very late^-it 
was almost three o'clock— old Mrs. de Luce, with the 
gambling-passion still blazing in her dim eyes, summon- 
ing all her distinction and her princely prcsHge, went 
to the verandah and, as though nothing had happened, 
asked Mrs. van Oudijck if she would not come in to 
lunch. 




CHAPTER XV 

Yes, Theo knew. He had spoken to Oorip after 
lunch ; and although the maid had at first tried to deny 
everything, afraid of losing the sarongs, she had been 
unable to continue lying and had contented herself with 
feeble little protests of no . . . no. . . . And, 
still early that same afternoon, raging with jealousy he 
sought out Addie. But Theo was calmed by the indif- 
ferent composure of the good-looking youth, with his 
Moorish face, already so fully sated with his conquests 
that he himself never felt any jealousy. Theo was 
calmed by the complete absence of thought in this 
tempter, with his instant forgetfulness after an hour 
of love, a forgetfulness so harmonious that he looked 
up with eyes of ingenuous surprise when Theo, red and 
boiling with fury, burst into his room and, standing 
before his bed — where he was lying quite naked, as 
was his habit during his siesta, with the magnificence 
of a bronze statute, sublime as an ancient sculpture — 
declared that he would strike him across the face. And 
Addie's surprise was so artless, his indifference so 
harmonious, he seemed to have so utterly forgotten 
his hour of love of the night before, he laughed so 
serenely at the idea of fighting about a woman that 
Theo quieted down and came and sat on the edge of 
his bed. And then Addie, who was a couple of years 
younger but possessed incomparable experience, told 
him that he really mustn't do this again, get so angry 
about a woman, a mistress who gave herself to another. 
And Addie patted him on the shoulder with almost 




120 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

fatherly compassion; and now, since they understoo 
each other, they went on confidentially chatting an 
pumped each other. 

They exchanged further confidences, about womci 
about girls. Theo asked if Addie was going to marr 
Doddie. But Addie said that he wasn't thinking c 
marrying and that the resident wouldn't be willin 
either, because he didn't care for Addie's family an 
thought them too Indian. Then in a single word he 1< 
slip his pride in his Solo descent and his pride in th 
halo which shone dimly behind the heads of all tfa 
De Luces. And Addie asked if Theo knew that he ha 
a young brother running wild in the compound. The 
knew nothing about it But Addie assured him that 
was so: a young son of papa's, mark you, from tli 
time when the old man was still controller at Ngac 
jiwa; a fellow of their own age, quite sinjo-fied: th 
mother was dead. Perhaps the old man himself didn 
know that he still had a child in the compoimd, but 
was true, everybody knew.it: the regent knew, th 
patih^ knew, the zvedono^ knew and the meanest cooli 
knew. There was no actual proof: but a thing lilt 
that, which was known the whole world over, was a 
true as that the world itseff existed. . . What di 
the fellow do? Nothing, except curse and swear, d< 
claring that he was a son of the Kandjeng Tuan Resi 
dèri who allowed him to rot in the compound. . . 
What did he live on ? On nothing, on what he got b 
shameless begging, on what people gave him and the 
. . . by all sorts of practices: by going round th 
districts, through all the dcssas, and asking if ther 

* Native councillor to the regent 

* Head of a district 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 121 

were any complaints and then drawing up little peti- 
tions; by encouraging people to go to Mecca and let 
him book their passages with very cheap little steamship 
companies of which he was the imofficial agent: he 
would go to the farthest dessa and display coloured 
posters representing a steamer full of Mecca pilgrims 
and the Kaaba} and the Sacred Tomb of Mohammed. 
He would mess around like this, sometimes mixed up 
in rows, once in a ketju,^ sometimes dressed in a, sarong, 
sometimes in an old striped calico suit; and he slept 
anywhere. And, when Theo showed surprise and said 
that he had never heard of this half-brother of his and 
expressed curiosity, Addie suggested that they should 
go and look him up, if he was to be found in the com- 
pound. And Addie gaily and quickly took his bath 
and put on a clean white suit; and they went across the 
road and along the rice-fields into the compound. 

It was already dusk under the heavy, trees: the 
bananas lifted the cool green paddles of their leaves; 
and, under the state canopy of the coco-palms the little 
bamboo houses hid, poetically oriental, idyllic with their 
atafy^ roofs, their doors often already closed, or, if 
open, framing the little black inward vista, with the 
vague outline of a halch-balch* on which squatted a 
dark figure. The hairless, mangy dogs barked; the 
children, naked, with bells dangling from their stom- 

* The building at Mecca containing the famous black stone said 
to have come from Paradise whiter than milk and to have been 
rhanged to black by the sins of the children of Adam who have 
touched it. All Moslems turn in the direction of the Kaaba 
when praying. 

■ Robbery. 

* Palm-leaf. 

* Bench or couch. 



122 THE IIIDDEX FORCE 

I 

achs, ran indoors and stared out of the houses; the j 
women kept quiet, recognizing the tempter and vagudy | 
laughing, blinking their eyes as he passed in his glory. 
And Addie pointed to the little house where his old 
babti lived, Tidjem, the woman who helped him, who 
always opened her door to him when he wanted the 
use of her hut, who worshipped him as his mother and 
his sisters and his little nieces worshipped him. He ^ 
showed Theo the house and thought of his walk last 
night with Doddie under the tjemaras. Tidjem the 
babn saw him and ran up to him delightedly. She 
squatted down beside him, she pressed his leg against 
her withered breast, she rubbed her forehead against ' 
his knee, she kissed his white shoe, she gazed at him in ^ 
rapture, her beautiful prince, her Raden, whom she 
had rocked as a little chubby boy in her already in- 
fatuated arms. He tapped her on the shoulder and 
gave her a rijksdaalder and asked her if she knew 
where Si-Oudijck^ was, because his brother wished to 
see him. j 

Tidjem stood up and beckc«ied to him to follow: it | 
was some way to walk. And they stepped out of tho f 
compound into an open road with rails on it, by which 
the krandjangs^ of sugar were removed to the proas 
which lay moored at a landing-stage yonder, in the 
Brantas. The sun was going down in a fan-shaped | 
glory of orange sheaves ; and the distant rows of trees a 
Üiat outlined the bibit-fitlds were washed in with dark, 
soft, velvety touches against their arrogant glow. 
These fields were not yet planted, but their dark, earth- 
coloured expanse lay as broken by the plough. Frwn 

^^i IS a slightly depreciatory prefix. I 

' Bamboo baskets. ' 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 123 

the factory came a few men and women, making their 
way home. Beside the river, by the landing-stage, a 
small passer of portable kitchens had been set up under 
a sacred, five-fold waringin-tree, with its five trimks 
merging into one another and its wide-spreading roots. 
Tidjem called the ferry-man and he put them across, 
across the orange Brantas, in the last yellow rays of 
the sun outspread f anwise like a peacock's tail. When 
they were on the other side, the night fell over every- 
thing, like the hasty fall of a gauze curtain; and the 
clouds, which all through November had threatened 
the low horizons, hung oppressively on the sultry air. 
And they entered another compound, lit here and there 
by a paraffin-light, set down on the ground, in a long 
lamp-glass, without a globe. At last they came to a 
little house, built partly of bamboo, partly of old 
packing-cases and roofed partly with tiles, partly witli 
atap. Tidjem pointed to it and, once more squatting 
on the ground and embracing and kissing Addie's knee, 
asked permission to depart. Addie knocked at the 
door: a grumbling and rumbling within was the only 
answer; but, when Addie called out, the door was 
kicked open and the two young men stepped into the 
one room of which the hut consisted: half bamboo, 
half deal boards from packing-cases ; a haleh-halch with 
a couple of dirty pillows in a comer, with a limp chintz 
curtain dangling in front of it; a crazy table with a 
chair or two ; on the table, a paraffin-lamp, without a 
globe; and a litter of oddments stacked on a packing- 
case in a comer. Everything was permeated with an 
acrid odour of opium. 

And Si-Oudijck ^I'as sitting at the table with an 
Arab, while a Javanese woman squatted on the halch- 




124 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

baleh, preparing herself a sirihAe^f. A few sheets of 
paper lay on the table between the Arab and the sinjo. 
The last-named, evidently annoyed by the unexpected 
visit, hurriedly crumpled the papers together. But he 
recovered his composure and, assiuning a jovial air, 
cried: 

"Hullo, Adipati ! Susuhunan ! Sultan of Pat jaram ! 
Sugar-lord ! How are you, my god of beauty, the ruin 
of all good women ?" 

His jovial torrent of greetings continued without 
ceasing while he scrambled the papers together and 
made a sign to the Arab, who disappeared through the 
other door, at the back. 

"And who's that with you. Raden Mas Adrianus, 
my bonnie Lucius ?" 

"It's your young brother," said Addie. 

Si-Oudijck looked up suddenly: 

"Oh, is it really ?" said he, speaking broken Dutch, 
Javanese and Malay in the same breath. "I can see it 
is: my legitimate one. And what does the fellow 
want ?" 

"He's come to see what you're like.'' 

The two brothers looked at each other: Theo in- 
quisitively glad to have made this discovery as a 
weapon against the old man, if the weapon ever became 
necessary; the other, Si-Oudijck, secretly restraining, 
behind his brown, crafty, leering face, all his jealousy, 
all his bitterness and hatred. 

"Is this where you live ?" asked Theo, for the sake of 
saying something. 

"No, I'm just staying with her for the time being," 
replied Si-Oudijck, with a jerk of his head towards 
the woman. 







THE HIDDEN FORCE 125 

"Has your mother, been dead long?*' 

"Yes. Yours is still alive, isn't she? She lives in 
Batavia. I know her. Do you ever see her?" 

"No." 

'H'm. . . . Prefer your step-mother?" 
'Pretty well," said Theo, drily. And, changing the 
subject, "I don't believe the old man knows that you 
exist." 

"Yes, he does." 

"I doubt it. Have you ever spoken to him ?" 

"Yes, formerly. Years ago." 

"Well ?" 

"No use. He says I'm not his son." 

"It must be difficult to prove." 

"Legally, yes. But it's a fact and everybody knows 
it. It's known all over Ngadjiwa." 

"Have you no sort of evidence?" 

"Only the oath which my mother took when she was 
dying, before witnesses." 

"Come, tell me things," said Theo. "Walk a bit of 
the way with us: it's stuffy in here." 

They left the hut and sauntered back through the 
compounds, while Si-Oudijck told his story. They 
strolled along the Brantas, which wound vaguely in 
the evening dusk under a sky powdered with stars. 

It did Theo good to hear about all this, about that 
housekeeper of his father's, in the days of his con- 
trollership, rejected for an infidelity of which she was 
guiltless; the child bom later and never recognized, 
never maintained ; the boy wandering from compound 
to compound romantically proud of his inhuman father, 
whom he watched from a distance, following him with 
his furtive glance when the father became assistant- 




126 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

resident and resident, married, divorced his wife and jl 
married again; by slow degrees learning to read and ;-i 
write from a magang^ of his acquaintance. It did the | ) 
legitimate son good to hear about all this, because in I : 
his innermost self, fair-haired and fair-skinned though 1 
he might be, he was more the son of his mother, the I 
nonna, than of his father; because in his innermost I 
self he hated his father, not for this or. that reason, but ^ 
from a secret antipathy in his blood, because, despite 
the appearance and behaviour of a fair-haired and fair- 
skinned European, he felt a secret kinship for this 
illegitimate brother, felt a vague sympathy for him.^ 
Were they not both sons of the self-same motherland, 
for which their father felt nothing except as a result 
of his acquired development, the artificially, humanely 
cultivated love of the ruler for the territory which he 
governs. From his childhood Theo had felt like tliat, 
far removed from his father ; and later that antipathy 
had grown into a slumbering hatred. It gave him 
pleasure to hear demolished that impeccability of his 
father, a magnanimous man, a functionary of Üie high- 
est integrity, who loved his domestic circle, who loved 
his residency, who loved the Javanese, who was anxious 
to uphold the regent's family, not only because his 
official instructions prescribed that the Javanese no- 
bility should be respected, but because his own heart 
told him as much, when he thought of the noble old 
Pangeran. . . . Theo knew that his father was 
all this, blameless, high-minded, upright, magnani- 
mous ; and it did him good, here, in the mysterious eve- 
ning beside the Brantas, to hear that blamelessness, 
that high-minded, upright magnanimity torn to rib- 

* Native writer. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 127 

s; it did him good to meet an outcast who in one 
nent spattered that high-throned paternal figure 
1 mud, dragging him from his pedestal, making him 
2ar no higher than another, sinful, wicked, heart- 
, ungenerous. It filled him with a wicked joy, even 
le was filled with a wicked joy at possessing his 
ler's wife, whom his father adored. What to do 
1 this dark secret he did not yet know, but he 
ched at it as a weapon; he was whetting it there, 
very evening, while he listened to the end to what 
furtive-eyed half-caste, ranting and working him- 
up, had to say. And Theo hid his secret, hid his 
pon deep down within himself, 
rrievances rose in his mind; and he too now, the 
timate son, abused his father, declared that the resi- 
t did no more to help him, his own lawful son, to 
on than he would do for any of his clerks; told 
how he had once recommended him to the manager 
n impossible undertaking, a rice-plantation, where 
lad been unable to stay longer than a single month ; 
' afterwards he had left him to his fate, thwarting 
when he went hunting after concessions, even in 
T residencies, even in Borneo, until he was now 
g^ed to remain hanging about and sponging at home, 
ble to find a job, thanks to his father, and merely 
rated in that house where he disliked everything. 
Except your stepmother!" Si-Oudijck interpolated, 

ut Theo went on, growing confidential in his turn 
telling his brother that it would be no g^eat advan- 

for him even if he were acknowledged and legiti- 
ized. And in this wav thev both became excited, 

to have met each other, to have grown intimate 



128 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

in this brief hour. And beside them walked Addie, f 
surprised at that quick mutual attraction, but otherwise 
devoid of thought. They had crossed a bridge and by 
a circuitous route had come out behind the Patjaram 
factory-buildings. Here Si-Oudijck said good-night, 
shaking hands with Theo, who slipped a couple of 
rijksdaalders into his palm. They were accepted gfreed- 
ily, with a flicker of the furtive glance but not a word 
of thanks. And Addie and Theo went past the factory, 
now silent, to the house. The family were strolling, 
outside, in the garden and in the tjemara-avenue. And, 
as the two young men approached, the golden, eight- 
year-old child came nmning towards them, the old 
grandmother's little foster-princess, with her fringe of 
hair and her whitened forehead, in her rich little, doll- 
like dress. She came running up to them and sud- 
denly stopped in front of Addie and looked up at him. 
Addie asked her what she wanted, but the child did 
not answer and only looked up at him and then, putting 
out her little hand, stroked his hand with it. It was 
all so clearly the result of an irresistible magnetism in 
the shy child, this nmning up, stopping, looking up 
and stroking, that Addie laughed aloud and stooped 
and kissed her lightly. The child skipped back con- 
tentedly. And Theo, still excited by his evening, first 
by his conversation with Oorip and then by his explana- 
tion with Addie, his meeting with his half-brother, his 
own confidences about his father, was so greatly irri- 
tated by this trivial behaviour of Addie and the child, 
that he exclaimed, almost angrily: 

"Oh, you . . . youll never be BXiyÜnng but a 
woman's man !'*•••• 




CHAPTER XVI 

Things had gone well with Van_Oudijck upon the 
whole. Bom of a simple Dutch family, with no money, 
he had found his youth a hard but never cruel school 
of precocious earnestness, of early strenuous work, of 
immediate looking forward to the future, to a career, 
to the honourable position which lie hoped to fill with 
the least possible delay among his fellow-men* His 
years of oriental study at Delft had been just gay 
enough to enable him later to believe that he had once 
been young ; and, because he had taken part in a mas- 
querade, he even thought that he had spent quite a 
dissolute life, with much squandering of money and 
riotous living. His character was built up of much 
quiet Dutch respectability and an earnest outlook upon 
life, generally rather gloomy and wearying, though in- 
telligent and practical: he was accustomed to visualize 
his honourable position among his fellow-men; and his 
ambition had developed rhythmically and steadily into 
a temperate thirst for position, but only on the lines 
along which his eyes were always wont to gaze: the 
hierarchical lines of the Indian Civil Service. Things 
had always gone well with him. Displaying great ca- 
pacity, he had been greatly valued ; he had become an 
assistant-resident earlier than most and a resident while 
still young; and, his ambition was now really satisfied 
because his authoritative office was in complete har- 
mony with his nature, whose love of rule had prog- 
ressed with its ambition. He was now really satisfied ; 
and, though his eyes looked still much farther ahead 



130 THE HIDDEN EORCE 

and saw glimmering before them a seat on the Indian j 
Council and even the throne at Buitenzorg, he had days \ 
when, serious and contented, he declared that to become 
a resident of the first class — putting aside the higher 
pension — ^had little in its favour, except at Samarang 
and Surabaya, but that the Vorstenlanden were abso- 
lutely a burden and Batavia occupied such a peculiar ] 
and almost derogatory position, in the thick of so many ': 
higher officials, members of Council and directors. I 
And, though his eyes thus looked farther ahead, his 
practical and temperate nature would have been quite 
satisfied if any one could have prophesied to him that 
he would die as Resident of Labuwangi. He loved his 
district and loved India ; he never yearned for Holland» 
nor for the pageant of European civilization, even 
though he himself had remained very Dutch and above, 
all hated anything that was half-caste. This was the 
inconsistency in his character, for he had married his 
first wife, a nontia, purely out of aflFection; and, as for* 
his children, in whom the Indian blood was eloquent — 
outwardly in Doddie, inwardly in Theo, while Rene 
and Ricus were two thorough little sinjos — he loved 
them with an intense feeling of paternity, with all the 
tenderness and sentiment that slumbered in the depths 
of his nature: a need to give much and receive much 
in the circle of his domestic life. Gradually this need 
had extended to the circle of his district: he took a 
paternal pride in his assistant-residents and controllers, 
among whom he was popular and beloved. It had hap- 
pened only once in the six years during which he had 
been Resident of Labuwangi that he had been unable 
to get on with a controller: then the man was a half- 
caste and he had had him transferred, had him sacked, 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 131 

as he put it. And he was proud that, despite his strict 
discipline, despite his stem insistence on work, he was 
beloved by his officials. He was all the more grieved 
by the constant secret enmity of the regent, his 
"younger brother," to use the Javanese title, in whom 
indeed he would gladly have found a younger brother 
to govern his native population under himself, the elder 
brother. It grieved him that matters had fallen out 
thus; and he would then think of other regents, not 
only of this one's father, the noble Pangeran, but of 
others whom he knew: the Regent of D- , a culti- 
vated man, speaking and writing Dutch correctly, con- 
tributing lucid Dutch articles to newspapers and maga- 
zines ; the Regent of S , a trifle frivolous and vain, 

but very rich and very benevolent, figuring as a dandy 
in European society and polite to the ladies. Why 
should things have fallen out just so in Labuwangi, 
with this silent, spiteful, secretive fanatical wagang- 
puppet, with his reputation as a saint and sorcerer, 
stupidly idolized by the people, in whose welfare he 
took no interest and who adored him only for the 
glamour of his ancient name, a man in whom he always 
felt an antagonism, never uttered in words, but yet so 
plainly palpable under his icy correctness of de- 
meanour? And then at Ngadjiwa too there was the 
brother, the card-player, the gambler: why should just 
he be so unlucky in his regents? 

Van Oudijik was in a gloomy mood. He was ac- 
customed to receiving, at regular intervals, anonymous 
letters, venomous libels spewed forth from quiet cor- 
ners, bespattering at one time an assistant-resident, at 
another a controller^ besmirching now the native head- 
men and now his own family; sometimes taking the 



\ 



132 TTIE HIDDEN FORCE j 

form of a friendly warning, sometimes displaying a I 
malicious delight in wounding, very, very anxious to 
open his eyes to the shortcomings of his officials and 
to his wife's misconduct. He was so completely used 
to this that he did not count the letters, reading them 
hastily or hardly at all and carelessly destroying them. 
Accustomed as he was to judging for himself, the spite- j 
f ul warnings made no impression on him, though they .* 
reared their heads like hissing snakes among all the I 
letters which the post brought him daily; and as re- 
gards his wife he was so blind, he had always been so 
much in the habit of picturing Leonie in the tranquillity 
of her smiling indifference and in the home-like soda- I 
bility which she most certainly attracted round her — ^in 
the hollow void of the residency, whose chairs and 
ottomans seemed always arranged for a reception — 
that he could never have credited the most trivial of 
all the slanders. 

He never mentioned them to her. He loved his wife ; 
he was in love with her; and, as he always saw her 
almost silent in society, as she never flirted or co- 
quetted, he never glanced into the depth of corruption 
that was her soul. At home, indeed, he was absolutely 
blind. At home he displayed that utter blindness which 
is often seen in men who are very capable and efficient 
in tlieir business or profession ; who are accustomed to 
scan with sharp eyes the wide perspective of their of- 
ficial duties, but who are near-sighted at home ; who are 
wont to analyse things in the lump, but not the phydio- 
logical details ; whose knowledge of mankind is based 
on principles and who divide mankind into types, as in 
the cast of an old-fashioned play; who can at once 
plumb the capacity of their subordinates, but are utter- 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 133 

ly unable to realize the intricate complex, like a tangled 
arabesque, like rankly-growing tendrils, of the psychic 
involution of those who form their own household, al- 
ways gazing over their heads, failing to grasp the inner 
meaning of their speech and taking no interest in the 
kaleidoscopic emotions of hatred and jealousy and life 
and love that shine with prismatic hues right before 
their eyes. He loved his wife and he loved his children 
because the feeling and the fact of paternity were neces- 
sities of his being; but he knew neither his wife nor his 
children. He knew nothing about Léonie ; and he had 
never realized that Theo and Doddie had secretly re- 
mained faithful to their mother, so far away, in Bata- 
via, ruined by her unspeakable mode of life, and that 
they felt no love for him. He thought that they did 
give him their love ; and as for him . . . when he 
thought of them, a slumbering affection awoke in him. 
He received the anonymous letters daily. They had 
never made an impression on him ; yet he no longer de- 
stroyed tliem, but read them attentively and put them 
aside in a secret drawer. He could not have said why. 
They contained accusations against his wife, they con- 
tained imputations against his daughter. They sought 
to intimidate him by threatening that he might be 
stabbed in the dark. They warned him that his spies 
were utterly untrustworthy. They told him that his 
divorced wife was suffering from poverty and hated 
him, they told him he had a son whom he had left un- 
provided for. They stealthily grubbed up all the secret 
or obscure passages in his life and his career. The 
thing depressed his spirits in spite of himself. It was 
all very vague ; and he had nothing with which to re- 
proach himself. In his own eyes and the world's he 




134 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

was a good official, a good husband and a good father, / 
he was a good man. That he should be blamed for 7 
having judged too unjustly and unfairly here, for hav- 
ing acted cruelly there, for having divorced his first 
wife, for having a son running wild in the compound; 
that people should throw mud at Léonie and Doddie: 
it all depressed him nowadays. For it was unaccount- j 
able that people should do just this. To this man, with ^ 
his practical good sense, the vagueness was just the \ 
most vexatious part of it. He would not fear an open 
fight, but this mock battle in the dark upset his nerves 
and his health. He could not conceive why it was 
happening. There was nothing to tell him. He could I 
not conjure up the face of an enemy. And the letters 
came day after day ; and every day enmity lurked in the 
shadows about him. It was too mystical and too much 
opposed to his nature not to embitter and depress and 
sadden him. Then paragraphs appeared in the lesser 
papers, utterances of a mean and hostile press, vague 
accusations or palpable falsehoods. Hatred was seeth- 
ing all about him. He could not fathom the reason of 
it, he became ill from brooding over it. And he dis- 
cussed it with nobody and hid his suffering deep down 
within himself. 

He did not understand it. He could not imagine why 
it was, why it should be so. There was no logic in it 
all. Logically he should be loved, not hated, however 
strict and authoritative he might be considered. In- 
deed, did he not often temper his authoritative strict- 
ness with the jovial laugh under his thick moustache, 
with a friendly, genial warning and exhortation ? Was 
he not on circuit a pleasant resident, who regarded the 
circuit with his officials as a relaxation, as a deligiitful 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 135 

trip on horseback through the coffee-plantations, touch- 
ing at the coüct-gudangs; as a jolly excursion, which 
relaxed one's muscles after all those weeks of office- 
work: the big staff of district heads following on their 
little horses, riding their skittish animals like nimble 
monkeys, with flags in their hands; with the gamelan 
tinkling out its blithe crystal notes of welcome wher- 
ever he went ; with the carefully prepared dinner in the 
pasangrahan^ of the evening and the rubber till late at 
night? Had not his officials, in informal moments, 
told him that he was a regular sport of a resident, an 
indefatigable rider, jovial at meals and so young that 
he would actually take the scarf from the tandak-^vV 
and tandak with her for a moment, very cleverly per- 
forming the lissom ritual movements of the hands and 
feet and hips, instead of buying himself off with a 
rijksdaalder and leaving her to dance with the wedonoT 
Never did he feel so happy as on circuit. And now 
that he was gloomy and depressed, dissatisfied, not 
knowing what hidden forces were opposing him in the 
dusk — straight, honest man that he was, a man of 
simple principles, a serious worker — ^he thought that he 
would go on circuit soon and, by that diversion, rid 
himself of the gloom that was oppressing him. He 
would ask Theo to go with him, for the sake of a few 
days' change. 

He was fond of his boy, even though he considered 
him stupid, thoughtless, reckless, lacking in persever- 
ance, never satisfied with his superiors, tactlessly op- 
posing his manager^ until he had once more made him- 
self impossible in the coffee-plantation or sugar-factory 

* Native inn for the use of officials. 

• N'ativc dancing-girl, nautch-girl. 



136 THE TIIDDEN FORCE 

at which he happened to be employed. He considered 
that Theo ought to make his own way, as his father had 
done before him, instead of relying entirely on the resi- 
dent's protecticMi. He did not hold with nepotism. He 
would never favour his son above any one else who had I 
the same rights. He had often told nephews of his> keen 
on obtaining concessions in Labuwangi, that he would | 
rather have no relations in his district and that they 
must expect nothing from him except absolute imparti- 
ality. That was how he had got on ; that was how he I 
expected them to get on . . . and Theo too. ' 
Nevertheless, he silently watched Theo, with all a 
father's love, with an almost sentimental tenderness: 
he regretted, silently but profoundly, that Theo was 
not more persevering and did not look more closely to 
his future, to his career, to an honourable situation 
among his fellow-men, from the standpoint of either 
money or position. The lad just lived from day to day 
without a thought of the morrow. . . . Perhaps 'j 
he was a little cold to Theo, outwardly: well, he wotdd 
have a confidential talk with him some day, would ad- 
vise him ; and now, in any case, he would ask Theo to 
go with him on circuit 

And the thought of riding for five or six days in the k 
pure air of the mountains, through the coflFee-planta- 
tions. inspecting the irrigation-works, doing what most : 
of all attracted him in his official duties: the thought of 
this relieved his soul, brightened his outlook, till he 
ceased to think about the letters. He was made for a 
plain, simple life: he found life natural, not complex 
and involved ; his life had followed a perceptible ascent, 
open and gradual, looking out towards a glittering 
summit of ambition ; and the things that teemed and 



:\ 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 137 

armed in the shadows and the darkness, the things 
Lt bubbled up from abyss: these he had never been 
e or anxious to see. He was blind to the life that 
rks imder life. He did not believe in it, any more 
in a mountaineer who has lived long on a quiescent 
icano believes in the inner fire which persists in its 
'sterious depths and escapes only in the form of hot 
am and a sulphurous stench. He believed neither in 
Ï force above things nor in the force of things them- 
ves. He did not believe in dumb fate nor in silent 
vitability. He believed only in what he saw with his 
n eyes ; in the harv^est, the roads, districts and dessas 
1 in the welfare of his province; he believed only in 
career, which he saw before him like an ascending 
:h. And in the unclouded clarity of his simple, 
sculine nature, in the universally perceptible obvious- 
;s of his upright love of authority, his legimate ambi- 
n and his practical sense of duty there was only one 
ak point: his affection, his deep, almost effeminate, 
itimental affection for the members of his domestic 
cle . . . into whose soul he could not see, being 
1(1 and seeing only in the light of his fixed principle, 
ing his wife and children as they ought to be. 
Experience had taught him nothing. For he had 
ed his first wife also as he now loved Leonie. . . . 
' loved his wife because she was his first wife, 
Muse she belonged to him, because she was the 
ncipal person in his circle. He loved the circle as 
'h and not as so manv individuals who formed its 
ks. Experience had taught him nothing. His 
>ughts were not in accordance with the changing 
zs of his life: they accorded with his ideas and 
nciples. They had made a man and a force of him 




138 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

and also a good official. They had also allowed 
as a rule to be a good man, according to his li 
But, because he possessed so much affecticm, tu 
scious, unanalysed and merely felt deeply, and be< 
he did not believe in the hidden force, in the life \\ 
life, in the force that teemed and swarmed 
volcanic fires under the mountains of majesty, 
troubles under a throne, because he did not belie 
the mysticism of tangible things, life sometimes f 
him weak and unprepared when — ^serene as the 
and more powerful than men — it deviated from 
he regarded as logical. 




CHAPTER XVII 

nysticism of concrete things in that island of 
ry which is Java! . . . Outwardly the 
colony with the subject race, which was no match 
c rude trader who, in the golden age of his re- 
, with the young strength of a youthful pec^le, 
f and eager for gain, plump and phlegmatic, 
d his foot and his flag on the cnunbling empires, 
Ï thrones which tottered as though the earth had 
n seismic labour. But, down in its soul, it was 
subjected, though smiling in proud contemptuous 
ation and bowing submissively beneath its fate ; 
n its soul, despite a cringing reverence, it lived in 
)m its own mysterious life, hidden from western 
lowever these might seek to fathom the secret — 
«gh with a philosophic intention of maintaining 
; all a proud and smiling tranquillity, pliantly 
ig and to all appearances courteously approach- 
>ut deep within itself divinely certain of its own 
and so far removed from all its rulers' ideals of 
ation that no fraternization between master and 
It will ever take place, because the difference 

ferments in soul and blood remains insuperable, 
he European, proud in his might, in his strength, 

civilization and his humanity, rules arrogantly, 
Y, selfishly, egoistically, amidst all the intricate 
heels of his authority, which he slips into gear 
he certainty of clockwork, controlling its every 
nent, till to the foreigner, the outside observer, 
verlordship of tangible things, this colcxiizing of 




140 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

territory alien in race and mentality, appears a master- 
piece, a world created. 

But under all this show the hidden force lurks, 
slumbering now and unwilling to fight. Under all this 
.ippearance of tangible things the essence of that silent 
mysticism threatens, like a smouldering fire under- 
ground, like hatred and mystery in the heart Under 
all this peace of grandeur the danger threatens and 
the future mutters like the subterranean thunder in the 
volcanoes, inaudible to human ears. And it is as 
though the subject race knows it and leaves matters to 
the latent force of things and awaits the divine moment 
that is to come, if there be any truth in the calcula- 
tions of the mystics. As for him, he reads the overlord 
with a single penetrating glance; he sees in him the 
illusion of civilization and humanity and he knows that 
they are non-existent. While he gives him the title of 
lord and the hormat^ due to the master, he is pro- 
foundly conscious of his democratic, commercial 
nature and despises him for it in silence and judges 
him with a smile which his brother understands; and 
he too smiles. Never does he offend against the form 
of slavish servility and, with his semba, he acts as 
though he were the inferior, but he is silently aware 
that he is the superior. He is conscious of the hidden, 
unuttered force: he feels the mystery borne upon the 
surging winds of his mountains, in the silence of the 
secret, sultry nights ; and he foresees events that are as 
yet remote. What is will not always be ; the present is 
disappearing. Dumbly he hopes that God will lift up 
those who are oppressed, some time, some time in the 
distant advent of the dawning future. But he feeb 

* Homage. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE . 141 

and hopes and knows it in the innermost depths of his 
soul, which he never unlocks to his ruler, which he 
would not even be able to unlock, which always remains 
an indecipherable book, in the unknown, untranslatable 
tongue in which the words indeed are the same but the 
shades of meaning expressed by them are different and 
in which the manifold hues of the two ideals show 
different spectra: spectra in which the colours differ 
IS though given forth by two separate suns, rays from 
^wo separate worlds. And never is there the harmony 
that understands: never does that love blossom forth 
which is conscious of unity ; and between the two there 
is always the gap, the chasm, the abyss, the distance, the 
width whence looms the mystery wheref rom, as from a 
:loud, the hidden force will one day flash forth. . . . 

So it was that Van Oudijck did not feel the mysti- 
:ism of tangible things. 

And the serene life, as of the gods, might well find 
lim weak and unprepared. . . . 



CHAPTER XVm 

Ngadjiwa was a gayer place than Labuwangi: there 
was a garriscMi; managers and employers often came 
down from the coffee-plantations in the interior for a 
few days' amusement ; there were races twice a year, 
accompanied by festivities which filled a whole month: 
the reception of the resident, a horse-raffle, a battle of 
flowers and an opera, two or three balls, distinguished 
by the revellers as the fancy-dress ball, the ceremonial 
ball and the soiree dansante; it was a time of early ris- 
ing and late retiring, of losing hundreds of guilders in a 
few days at écarté and in the totalizator. 
The longing for pleasure and the cheery joy of life 
were freely indulged in those days ; coffee-planters and 
young men from the sugar-factories looked forward to 1 
them for months ahead ; people saved for them during 
half the year. The two hotels were filled with guests 
from all directions, every household entertained its 
visitors; people betted furiously, while champagne 
flowed in torrents, all, including the ladies, knowing the 
race-horses as thoroughly as though they were their 
o\vn property, feeling quite at home at the dances* 
everybody knowing everybody, as at family-parties, 
while the waltzes and Washington Posts and grtunanas 
were danced with the langorous gjace of the Indo 
dancers, to a swooning measure, the trains gently float- 
ing, a smile of quiet rapture on the parted lips, with 
that dreamy voluptuousness which the Indian settlers 
express so charmingly in their dances, especially those 
who have Javanese blood in their veins. Dancing with 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 143 

them is not a rough diversion, all bumping against one 
another with rude leaps and loud laughter, not the wild 
whirl of the Lancers as at Dutch boy-and-girl balls, but 
represents, especially to the Indos, nothing but courtesy 
and grace: a serene blossoming of the poetry of 
motion ; a gracefully designed curve of precise steps to 
a pure measure over the club-room floors; an almost 
eighteenth-century harmony of youthful nobility, wav- 
ing and trailing and swaying in the dance, despite the 
primitive boom-booming of the Indian musicians. 
This was how Addie de Luce danced, with the eyes of 
every woman and girl fixed upon him, following him, 
imploring him with their glances to take them with 
him also in that waving and undulating motion, which 
was like a dream upon the water. . . . This came 
to him with his mother's blood, this was a survival of 
the grace of the srimpis^ among whom his mother had 
spent her childhood; and the mingling of modem 
European and ancient Javanese gave him an irresistible 
charm. 

And now, at the last ball, the soiree dansante, he was 
dancing like this with Doddie and, after her, with 
Ironie. It was late at night, or rather early in the 
morning: the day was dauTiing outside. Fatigue 
hung over the ball-room; and Van Oudijck at last 
intimated to the assistant-resident, Vermalen, with 
whom he and his family were staying, that he was 
ready to go home. At that moment he was in the 
front-verandah of the club, talking to Vermalen, when 
the patih suddenly ran up to him from the shadow of 
the garden and, suffering from obvious excitement, 
squatted, salaamed and said : 

* Dancers at a native court, often tlicmselvcs princesses. 



144 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

'^Kandjeng! Kandjeng! Please advise me, tell me 
what to do ! The regent is drunk, he is walking along 
the street and forgetting all his dignity." 

The guests were taking tlieir departure. The 
carriages drove up; the owners stepped in; the car- 
riages drove away. In the road outside the club tbc 
resident saw a Javanese: the upper part of the man's 
body was bare ; he had lost his head-dress ; and his long, 
black hair floated loosely, while he talked aloud, with 
violent gestures. Groups gfathered in the dusky 
shadow, looking on from a distance. 

Van Oudijck recognized the Regent of Ngadjiwa. 
Already at the ball the regent had behaved without 
self-control, after losing heavily at cards and mixing 
all sorts of wines. 

"Hasn't the regent been home yet?" asked Van 
Oudijck. 

^'Surely, kandjeng!" replied the paiih, plaintively. 
'T took the regent home as soon as I saw that he was I 
no longer able to control himself. He flung himself on \ 
his bed ; I thought he was sound asleep. But sec, he 
woke and got up ; he left the Kabupaten and came back 
here. See how he's behaving! He is drunk, he is 
drunk and he forgets who he is and who his fathers 
were !" 

Van Oudijck went outside with Vermalen. He 
walked up to the regent, who was making violent ges- 
tures and delivering an unintelligible speech in a loud 
voice. 

"Regent!" said the resident. - ''Don't jrou know ^ 
where and who you are ?" 

The regent did not recognize him. He ranted at 
Van Oudijck, he called down all the curses of heaven 
upon his head. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 145 

"Regent!*' said the assistant-resident. "Don't you 
know who's speaking to you and to whom you're speak- 
ing?" 

The regent swore at Vermalen. His bloodshot eyes 
flashed with drunken fury and madness. Assisted by 
the patih. Van Oudijck and Vermalen tried to help him 
into a carriage; but he refused. Splendid and sublime 
in his fall, he gloried in the madness of his tragedy, he 
stood, as though some explosive force had made him 
beside himself, half-naked, with floating hair and great 
gestures of his crazy arms. He was no longer coarse 
and bestial but became tragic, heroic, fighting against 
his fate, on the edge of the abyss. . . . The excess 
of his drunkenness seemed with a strange force to raise 
him out of his gradual bestialization ; and, fuddled as 
he was, he drew himself up, towering high, dramati- 
c:dly, above the Europeans. 

Van Oudijck gazed at him in stupefaction. The 
regent was now coming to blows with the patih, who 
addressed him in beseeching tones. On the road, the 
population collected, silent, dismayed; the last guests 
were leaving the club, where the lights were growing 
dim. Among them were Leonie van Oudijck, Doddie 
and Addie de Luce. All three still bore in their eyes 
the weary voluptuousness of the last waltz. 

"Addie," said the resident, "you're an intimate 
friend of the regent's. Just see if he knows you." 

The young man spoke to the tipsy madman, in soft 
Javanese accents. At first the regent kept on with his 
words of objurgation, with his gigantic, raving 
gestures; then, however, the softness of the language 
seemed to hold a well-known memory for him. He 
gave Addie a long look. His gestures subsided, his 



146 THE HIDDEN FORCE \ 



drunken glory evaporated. It was as though his blood 
suddenly understood that young man's blood, as 
though their souls recognized each other. The regent 
nodded dolefully and began a long lament, with his 
arms raised on high. Addie tried to help him into a 
carriage, but tlie regent resisted and refused. Then 
Addie took his arm in his own with gentle force and 
walked on with him slowly. The regent, still lament- 
ing, with tragic gestures of despair, suffered himself to 
be led. Tlie patih followed with one or two underlings, 
who had run after the regent out of the Kabupaten, 
helplessly. The procession vanished in the darkness. 
Leonie, wearily smiling, stepped into the assistant- 
resident's carriage. She remembered the gambling- 
quarrel at Pat jaram ; she took pleasure in observing the 
gradual deterioration which was occurring so visibly, 
this visible degradation by a passion controlled by 
neither tact nor moderation. And, where she was con- 
cerned, she felt stronger than ever, because she enjoyed ( 
her passions and controlled them and made them the , 
slaves of her enjoyment. • . . She despised the re- 
gent and it gave her a romantic satisfaction, an artistic 
pleasure, to watch the successive phases of that deterio- 
ration. In the carriage she glanced at her husband, who 
sat in gloomy silence. And his gloom delighted her, be- ' 
cause she thought him sentimental, with his champion- 
ing of the Javanese nobility, the result of a sentimental 
instruction, which Van Oudijck took even more senti- 
mentally. And she delighted in his sorrow. And from 
her husband she glanced at Doddie, detecting in the 
dance-weary eyes of her step-daughter a jealousy due 
to that last, that very last waltz of Leonie's with Addie. 
And she rejoiced in that jealousy. She felt happy. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 147 

«cause sorrow had no hold upon her, any more than 
assion. She played with the things of life and they 
lided off her and left her as unperturbed and calmly 
miling and unwrinkled and creamy white as before. 

Van Oudijck did not go to bed. With his head 
flame, with a fury of mortification in his heart, he at 
nee took a bath, dressed himself in pyjamas, and had 
offee served on the verandah outside his room. It was 
ix o'clock ; the air was steeped in a delightful coolness 
f morning freshness. But he suffered from so fierce 
n anger that his temples throbbed as though with con- 
estion, his heart thumped in his chest, his every nerve 
uivered. The scene of that night and morning was 
till flickering before his eyes, ticking on like a 
inematograph, with whirling changes of posture. 
VTiat angered him above all was the impossibility of it 
11, the illogicality, the unthinkableness of it. That a 
avanese of high birth, forgetful of all the noble tradi- 
ions in his blood, should have been able to behave as 
lie Regent of Ngadjiwa had behaved that night would 
ever have seemed to him possible. He would never 
ave believed it, if he had not seen it with his own eyes, 
'o this man of predetermined logic the fact was simply 
lonstrous, like a nightmare. Extremely susceptible to 
urprise, which he did not consider, logical, he was 
ngry with reality. He wondered whether he had not 
een dreaming, whether he himself had not been drunk, 
'hat the scandal should have occurred made him 
urious. But as it was so, well, he would recommend 
lie regent for dismissal. There was no alternative. 

lie dressed, spoke to Vermalen and went to the 
Zabupaten with him. They both forced their way in to 
lie regent, notwithstanding the hesitation of the re- 



148 TI ir: HIDDEN FORCE 

tainers, notwithstanding the breach of etiquette. They 
did not see the wife, the Raden-Aju. But they found 
the regent in his bedroom. He was lying on his bed, 
with his eyes open, recovering gloomily, not yet suflSci- 
ently restored to life fully to realize the strangeness of 
this visit, of the presence of the resident and assistant- 
resident by his bedside. He recognized them neverthe- 
less, but did not speak. While the two of them tried to 
bring home to him the gross impropriety of his be- 
haviour, he stared shamelessly in their faces and per- 
sisted in his silence. It was all so strange that the two 
officials looked at each other and exchanged glances to 
ask whether the regent was not mad, whether he was 
really responsible. He had not spoken a single word, 
he continued to be silent. Though Van Oudijck threat- 
ened him with dismissal, he remained dumb, staring 
with shameless eyes into the resident's eyes. He did 
not open his lips, he maintained the attitude of a deaf- 
mute. At the most, an ironical smile formed about his 
lips. The officials, really thinking that the regent was 
mad, shrugged their shoulders and left the room. 

In the gallery they met the Raden-Aju, a short, 
downtrodden little woman, like a whipped dog, a 
beaten slave. She approached, w^eeping; she begged, 
she implored for forgiveness. Van Oudijck told her 
that the regent refused to speak, for all his threats, that 
he was silent "with an inexplicable but obviously de- 
liberate silence. Tlien the Raden-Aju whispered that 
the regent had consulted a diiktin,^ who had given him 
a djimat' and assured him that, if he only persisted in 
maintaining complete silence, his enemies would obtain 

* Native physician. 
" Talisman. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 149 

lo hold upon him. Terrified, she implored for help, for 
'orgiveness, gathering her children round her as she 
ipoke. After sending for the patih and enjoining him 
o keep a strict watch on the regent, the two officials 
^ent away. 

Often though Van Oudijck had encountered the 
superstition of the Javanese, it always enraged him, as 
>pposed to what he called the laws of nature and life. 
iTes, nothing but his superstition could induce a Java- 
lese to depart from the correct path of his innate 
:ourtliness. Whatever they might now wish to put 
l^efore him, the regent would remain silent, would 
persist in the absolute silence prescribed by the dukun. 
[n this way he considered himself, protected against 
hose whom he regarded as his enemies. And this pre- 
:onceived notion of hostility in one whom he would so 
gladly have regarded as his younger brother and 
fellow-ruler was what disturbed Van Oudijck most of 
all. 

He returned to Labuwangi with Leonie and Doddie. 
Once at home, he felt for a moment the pleasantness of 
being back in his own house, an enjo>'ment of domes- 
ticity that always soothed him greatly: the material 
pleasure of seeing his own bed again, his own writing- 
table and chair, of drinking his own coffee, made as he 
was accustomed to have it These minor amenities put 
him in a good humour for a little while, but he at once 
felt all his bitterness awaken when he perceived, under 
a pile of letters on his desk, the disguised handwritings 
of a couple of furtive correspondents. Automatically 
he opened these first and felt sick when he read 
Leonie's name coupled with that of Theo. Nothing 
was sacred to those scoundrels: They concocted the 



150 THE HIDDEN EORCE 

most monstrous calumnies, tlie most unnatural libels, 
the most loathsome imputations, down to that of what \ 
was almost incest. AH the filth flung at his wife and 
son only set them higher m his love, girt them Mrith a 
greater purity, placed them on an inviolable sunmut 
and made him cherish them with a deeper and more 
fervent affection. But his bitterness, once stirred up, 
brought back all his mortification. Its actual cause was 
that he had to propose the Regent of Ngadjiwa's dis- 
missal and did not enjoy the prospect. But this one 
necessity embittered his whole being, upset his nerves 
and made him ill. If he could not follow the padi 
which he had determined upon, if life strayed from the 
possibilities which he. Van Oudijck, had a priori fixed, 
this reluctance, this rebellion upset his nerves and made 
him ill. 

He had once and for all resolved, after the death of 
the old Pangéran, to raise up the declining race of the 
Adiningrats, alike because of his affectionate memory i 
of tliat excellent Javanese prince, because of his 
instructions as resident and because of a sense of lofty 
humanity and hidden poetry in himself. And he had 
never been able to do so, he had at once been thwarted 
— ^unconsciously, by force of circumstances — by the old 
Raden-Aju Pangéran, who gambled away everything, j 
who was ruining herself and her kin. As a friend he 
had exhorted her. She had ever been accessible to his 
advice, but her passion had proved too strong for her. 
Van Oudijck had from the first, even before the 
father's death, judged her son, Sunario, the Regent of 
Labuwangi, unfitted for the actual position of regent 
The fellow was petty and insignificant, insufferably 
proud of his descent, never in touch with the actualities 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 151 

of life, devoid of any talent for ruling or any considera- 
tion for his inferiors, a great fanatic, always occupied 
with dukuns, with sacred calculations, petangans, 
always reticent and living in a dream of obscure mysti- 
cism and blind to what would spell welfare and justice 
for his Javanese subjects. And the population adored 
him nevertheless, both because of his noble birth and 
because he was reputed to possess sanctity and a far- 
reaching power, a divine magic. Silently, secretly, the 
women of the Kabupaten sold bottles of the water that 
had flowed over his body in the bath, as a healing 
remedy for .various diseases. There you had the elder 
brother; and the younger had quite forgotten himself 
on the previous night, frenzied by cards and drink. In 
these two sons the once so brilliant race was tottering 
to its fall. Their children were young; a few cousins 
were patilis in Labuwangi and the adjoining resi- 
dencies, but their veins contained not a drop of the 
noble blood. No, Van Oudijck had always failed, glad 
though he would have been to succeed. The very men 
whose interests he defended were opposing his efforts. 
Their day was over. But why this must be so he could 
not understand; and it all upset him and embittered 
him. 

And he had pictured to himself a very different path, 
a beautiful ascending path, even as he saw his own life 
before him, whereas with them the path of life wound 
tortuously downwards. And he did not tmderstand 
what it was that was stronger than he, when he put 
forth his will. Had it not always happened in his life 
and his career that the things for which he had fervent- 
ly wished came to pass with the logic which he himself 
had day after day attributed to the things that were 




152 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

about to take place ? His ambition had now estat 
the logic of the ascending path, for his ambitit 
established as its aim the revival of this Ja' 
family. . . . 

Would he fail ? To fail in striving for an aim 
he had set himself as an official: he would 
forgive himself ! Hitherto he had always succee 
achieving what he had willed, But what h< 
wanted to achieve was, unknown to himself, not i 
an official aim, a paft of his work. What h< 
wanted to achieve was an aim the idea of 
sprang from his humanity, from the noblest p 
himself. What he now wanted to achieve was an 
the ideal of the European in the east and of the 
pean who sees the east as he wishes to see it and 
could but see it. 

And that there were forces that gathered ini 
force, which threatened him, mocked at his pro] 
laughed at his ideals, and was all the stronger th 
lying more deeply hidden: this he would never ; 
It was not in him to acknowledge them; and.ev 
clearest revelation of them would be a riddle to h 
and would remain a m3rth. 




CHAPTER XIX 

Van Oudijck had been to the government building 
that day. Léonie met him the moment he returned. 

"The Raden-Aju Pangéran is here," she said. "She 
has been here quite an hour, Otto. She wishes to speak 
to you badly. She has been waiting for you.'* 

"Léonie," he said, "I want you to look through these 
letters. I often get libels of this sort and I've never 
mentioned them to you. But perhaps it's better that 
you should not be left in ignorance. Perhaps it's better 
for you to know. But please don't take them to heart. 
I needn't assure you that I don't for one moment 
believe the least word of all this filth. So don't get 
upset about it and give me back the letters presently 
yourself. Don't leave them lying about . • . 
And send the Raden-Aju Pangéran to my office. 



» 



Léonie, carrying the letters in her hand, went to the 
back-verandah and returned with the princess, a dis- 
tinguished-looking, grey-haired woman, with a proud, 
royal bearing in her still slender figure. Her eyes were 
a sombre black; her mouth, which was widened in 
c^utline by the betel-nut juice and which ginned with 
filed, black, lacquered teeth, was like a grimacing mask 
and spoilt the proud nobility of her expression. She 
wore a black satin kabaja fastened with jewelled but- 
tons. It was above all her g^ey hair and her sombre 
eyes that gave her a peculiar mixture of venerable 
dignity and smouldering passion. Tragedy hung over 
her old age. She herself felt that fate was pressing 



1?; Tin: IIIUDKX FORCE 

tragically upon her and hers ; and she placed her only 
hope in the far-reaching, divinely-appointed power of 
her first-born, Sunario, the Regent of Labuwangi. 

While the old princess preceded Van Oudijck into | 
the office Leonie examined the letters, in the middle 
gallery. They were lampoons couched in foul 
language, about her and Addie and Theo. Always 
wrapped in the selfish dream of her o^ti life, she never 
troubled greatly about what people thought or said, 
especially as she knew that she could always and im- 
mediately win every one again with her personality, 
with her smile. She possessed a tranquil charm which 
was irresistible. She herself never spoke ill of others, 
out of indiflFerence: she made amiable excuses for 
everything and everybody; and she was loved . . . 
when people saw her. But she considered these dirty 
letters, spat out from some dark comer, tiresome and 
unpleasant, even though Van Oudijck did not believe 
them. Suppose that, one day, he began to believe 
things ? She must be prepared for it She must above 
all retain for that possible day her most charming 
tranquility, all her invulnerability and inviolability. 
Who could have sent the letters? Who hated her so 
much, who could be interested in writing like this to 
her husband ? How strange that the thing was known ! 
. . . Addie? Theo? How did they know? Was 
It Oorip? No, not Oorip. . . . But who then? 
And was ever>'thing actually known? She had always ^ 
thought that what happened in the secret chambers i 
would never be known on the housetops. She had even ' 
believed — it was simple of her — ^that the men never 
discussed her with one another, that they discussed | 
r»ther women, but not herself. Her mind harboured 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 155 

such simple illusions, despite all her experience, a 
simplicity which harmonized with the half-perverse, 
half-childish poetry of her rose-hued imagination. 
Could she then not always keep hidden the secrets of 
her mystery, the secrets of reality? It annoyed her for 
a moment, that reality, which was being revealed de- 
spite her superficial correctness. • • . Thoughts and 
dreams always remained secret It was the real actions 
that were so troublesome. For an instant she thought 
of being more careful in future, of refraining. But 
she saw before her, in imagination, Theo and Addie, 
her fair love and her dark love ; and she felt that she 
was too weak for that. She knew that in this she 
could not conquer her passions, though she controlled 
them. Would they end by proving her destruction, 
notwithstanding all her tactfulness? But she laughed 
at the thought: she had a firm faith in her invulnera- 
bility. Life always glided off her shoulders. 

Still, she wanted to prepare herself for what might 
happen. She had no higher ideal in life than to be 
free from pain, free from grief, free from poverty and 
to make her passions the slaves of her enjoyment, so 
that she might possess this enjoyment as long as pos- 
sible, lead this life as long as possible. She reflected 
what she should say and do if Van Oudijck suddenly 
questioned her, suspicious because of these anonymous 
letters. She reflected whether she had better break 
with Theo. Addie was enough for her. And she lost 
herself in her calculations, as in the vague combina- 
tions of a play about to be enacted. Then, suddenly, 
she heard the Raden-Aju Pangéran's voice sounding 
loudly in the office, in between her husband's calmer 
accents. She listened, inquisitively, foreseeing a 




156 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

tragedy, and was quietly relieved that this tragedy also 
was gliding away from her. She crept into Van 
Oudijck's bedroom; the communicating-doors were 
always left open for coolness and only a screen sepa- ; 
rated the bedroom from the office. She peeped past 
the screen. And she saw the old princess more greatly 
excited than she had ever seen any Javanese woman. 
The Raden-Aju was beseeching Van Oudijck in 
Malay; he was assuring her in Dutch that what she [ 
asked was impossible. Leonie listened more closely. 
And she now heard the old princess imploring the 
resident to show mercy to her second son» the Regent 
of Ngadjiwa, She entreated Van Oudijck to remem- 
ber her husband, the Pangeran, whom he had loved 
as a father, who had loved him as a son, with a mutual 
affection more intense than that of an "elder and 
younger brother;" she conjured him to think of their 
famous past, of the glory of the Adiningrats, ever | 
loyal friends of the Company, its allies in war^ its most . 
faithful vassals in peace; she conjured him not to I 
decree the downfall of their race, on which a doom ' 
had descended since the Pangéran's death, driving it i 
into an abyss of fatal destruction. She stood before c 
the resident like a Niobe, like a tragic mother, flinging I 
up her arms in the vehemence of her protestations» | 
while tears poured from her sombre eyes and CMily the 
wide mouth, painted with brown betel-juice, was like 
the grimace of a mask. But from this grimace the 
fluent phrases of protestation and conjuration were 
pourinfj forth ; and she wrung her hands in entreaty 
and beat her breast in contrition. 

Van Oudijck answered in a firm but gentle voice. 
telling her that certainly he had loved the old Pan- 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 157 

an most sincerely, that he respected the old race 
hly, that no one would be better pleased than he 
iphold their lofty position. But then he grew more 
ere and asked her whom the Adiningrats had to 
Tie for the fate that was now pursuing her. And» 
h his eyes looking into hers, he said that it was she ! 
Ï fell back, flaring up with rage ; but he repeated it 
in and yet again. Her sons were her children: 
Dted and proud and incurable gamblers. And it 
\ gambling, that low passion, which was wrecking 
ir greatness. Their race was staggering to its down- 
through their insatiable greed of gain. How often 
it not happen that a month went by at Ngadjiwa 
ore the regent paid the native heads their salaries? 
\ protested that it was true: it was at her instiga- 
i that her son had taken the money of the treasury, 
pay gambling debts. But she also swore that it 
lid never happen again. And where, asked Van 
iijck, had a regent, descended from an ancient race, 
r behaved as the Regent of Ngadjiwa had at the 
ï-ball? The mother lamented: it was true, it was 
i: fate dogged their footsteps and had clouded her 
's mind; but it would never, never happen again. 
! swore by the soul of the old Pangeran that it 
lid never happen again, that her son would win 
k his dignity. But Van Oudijck grew more 
ement and reproached her with never having exer- 
d a good influence over her sons and nephews, with 
ig the evil genius of her family, because a demon 
gambling and greed had her fast in its claws. She 
an to shriek with anguish, she, the old princess, 
> looked down upon the resident, the Hollander 
hiout birth or breeding, shrieking with anguish bc- 



V 




158 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

cause he dared to speak like this and was entitled to do 
so. She flung out her arms, she begged for mercy; 
she begged him not to urge her son's dismissal by the 
government, which would act as the resident suggested, 
which would follow the advice of such a highly es- 
teemed oflicial ; she begged him to have pity and show 
patience a little longer. She would spesik to her son; 
Sunario would speak to his brother ; they would bring 
him back to his senses, which had been bewildered bv 
drink and play and women. Oh, if the resident would j 
only have pity, if he would only relent! But Van 
Oudijck remained inexorable. He had shown patience 
for so long. It was now exhausted. Since her son, at 
the instigation of the duktm, rel)ang on his djimai, had 
resisted him with his insolent silence, which, as he 
firmly believed, made him invulnerable to his enemies, 
he would prove that he, the spokesman of the govern- ) 
ment, the representative of the queen, was the stronger, ' 
dtikun and djiniat notwithstanding. There was no 
alternative: his patience was at an end; his love for 
the Pangeran did not allow of further indulgence; his 
feeling of respect for their race was not such that he ( 
could transfer it to an unworthy son. It was settled: | 
the regent would be dismissed. 

The princess had listened to him, tmable to credit 
his words, seeing the abyss yawn before her. And, 
with a yell like that of a wounded lioness, with a 
scream of pain, she pulled the jewelled hairpins from 
her head, till her long grey hair fell streaming about j 
her face ; with a rending tug she tore open her satin ^ 
kabaja; beside herself with anguish, she threw herself 
before the feet of the European, took firm hold of his 
foot with her two hands, planted it, with a movement 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 159 

vhich made Van Oudijck stagger, on her bowed neck 
ind cried aloud and screamed that she, the daughter 
)f the suhans of Madura, would for ever be his slave, 
hat she swore to be nothing but his slave, if only he 
vould have mercy on her son this time and not plunge 
ler house into the abyss of shame which she saw 
•awning around her. And she clutched the European's 
bot, as though with the strength of despair, and held 
hat foot, like a yoke of servitude, with the sole and 
leel of the shoe pressed upon her flowing grey hair, 
I pon her neck bowed to the floor. Van Oudijck 
rembled with emotion. He realized that this high- 
pirited woman would never humble herself like that, 
vith evident spontaneity, to the lowest depths of 
lumiliation that she could conceive, would not resort 
o the most vehement utterance of actual gritf that a 
voman could ever display, with her hair unbound and 
he ruler's foot planted on her neck, if she had not 
)een shaken to the very depths of her soul, if she did 
lot feel desperate to the pitch of self-destruction. And 
le hesitated for a moment. But only for a moment, 
ie was a man of considered principles, of fixed, a 
Tiori logic, immovable when he had come to a deci- 
ion, wholly inaccessible to impulse. With the utmost 
espect, he at last released his foot from the princess' 
linking grasp. Holding out both hands to her, with 
isible compassion, visible emotion, he raised her from 
he floor. He made her sit down ; and she fell into a 
hair, broken, sobbing aloud. For a moment, per- 
eiving his gentleness, she thought that she had won. 
?ut when he calmly but decidedly shook his head in 
lenial, she understood that it was over. She panted 
'or breath, hal f -swooning, her kabaja still open, her 
lair still unbound. 



160 THE HIDDEN FORCE ( 

At that moment Leonie entered the room. She had 
seen the drama enacted before her eyes and fdt a 
thrill of artistic emotion. She experienced sometfaiog 
like compassion in her barren souL She approached ƒ 
the princess who flung herself into her arms, woman 
seeking woman in the unreasoning despair of that 
inevitaJ)le doom. And Leonie, turning her beautifol 
eyes on Van Oudijck, murmured a single word of 
intercession and whispered: 

"Give in! Give in!" 

And for the second time Van Oudijck wavered 
Never had he refused his wife anything, however 
costly, for which she asked. But this meant the sacri- 
fice of his principle never to reconsider a decision, 
always to persist in what he had resolved should hap- 
pen. Then had he always controlled the future. Thus 
things always happened as he willed. Then had he 
never shown any weakness. And he answered that it | 
was impossible. 

In his obstinacy, he did not divine the sacred mo- 
ments in which a man must not insist upon his own 
will, but must piously surrender to the pressure of the j 
hidden forces. These moments he did not respect, * 
acknowledge or recognize ; no, never. He was a man f 
with a clear, logically deduced, simple, masculine sense 
of duty, a man of a plain, simple life. He would never 
know that, lurking under the simple life, are all those 
forces which together make the omnipotent hidden 
force. He would have laughed at the idea that there 
are nations which have a greater control over that force 
than the western nations have. He would shrug his 
shoulders — and continue his own road — at the mere 
supposition that among the nations there are a few 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 161 

individuals in whose hands that force loses its omnipo- 
tence and becomes an instrument. No experience 
would teach him. He would perhaps for an instant 
be nonplussed. But immediately afterwards he would 
grasp the chain of his logic in his virile hand and link 
up the iron actualities together. . . . 

He saw Leonie lead the old princess from his office, 
bowed and sobbing. 

A deep emotion, an utterly agitating compassion, 
brought the tears to his eyes. And before those tearful 
eyes rose the vision of that Javanese whom he loved 
like a father. 

But he did not give in. 




CHAPTER XX 

Reports arrived from Temate and Halmaheira tbat 
a terrible submarine earthquake had visited the sur- 
rounding group of islands, that whole villages had been 
washed away, that thousands of inhabitants had been 
rendered homeless. The telegrams caused greater con- 
sternation in Holland than in India, where people 
seemed more used to the convulsions of the sea, to the 
volcanic upheavals of the earth. They had been dis- 
cussing the Dreyfus case for months, they were begin- 
ning to discuss the Transvaal, but Temate was hardly 
mentioned. Nevertheless a central committee was 
formed at Batavia ; and Van Oudijck called a meeting. 
It was resolved to hold a charity-bazaar, at the earliest 
possible date, in the club and the garden attached to 
it. Mrs. van Oudijck, as usual, delegated everything 
to Eva Eldersma and did not trouble herself at all. 

For a fortnight Labuwangi was filled with excite- 
ment. In this silent little town, full of eastern slumber, 
a whirlwind of tiny passions, jealousies and enmities 
began to rise. Eva had her club of faithful adherents, . 
the Van Helderens, the Doom de Bruijns, the Rant- 
zows, with which all sorts of tiny sets strove to com- i 
pete. One was not on speaking terms with the other; 
this one would not take part because that one did; ' 
another insisted on taking part only because Mrs. j 
Eldersma must not think that she was everybody; and 
this one and that one and the other considered that 
Eva was much too pretentious and need not fancy 
that she was the most important woman in the place 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 163 

because Mrs. van Oudijck left everything to her. Eva 
however had spoken to the resident and declared that 
she was willing to organize everything provided she 
received unlimited authority. She had not the slightest 
objection to his appointing some one else to set the 
ball roiling; but, if he appointed her, unlimited 
authority was an express condition, for to take twenty 
different tastes and opinions into account would mean 
that one would never get anywhere. Van Oudijck 
laughingly consented, but impressed upon her that 
she must not make people angry and that she must 
respect every one's feelings and be as conciliatory as 
possible, so that the charity-bazaar might leave pleasant 
memories behind it. Eva promised: she was not 
naturally quarrelsome. 

To get a thing done, to set a thing going, to put a 
thing through, to employ her artistic energies was her 
great delight: it was life to her, was the only consola- 
tion in her dreary life in India. For, though she had 
grown to love and admire many things in Java, the 
social life of the country, save for her little clique, 
lacked all charm for her. But now to prepare an enter- 
tainment on a large scale, the fame of which would 
reach as far as Surabaya, flattered alike her vanity and 
her love of work. 

She sailed through every difficulty; and, because 
people saw that she knew best and was more practical 
than they, they gave way to her. But, while she was 
busy evolving her fancy-booths and tableaux-vivanis 
nnd while the bustle of the preparations occupied the 
leading families of Labuwangi, something seemed also 
to occupy the soul of the native population, but some- 
thing less cheerful than charitable entertainment. The 




164 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

chief of police, who brought Van Oudijck his short ^^ 
port every morning, usually in a few words — that he 
had gone his rounds and that everjrthing was quiet and 
orderly — ^had had longer conversations with the resi- 
dent of late, seemed to have more important things to 
commimicate; the oppassers whispered more mysteri- 
ously outside the office ; the resident sent for Eldersim 
and Van Helderen ; the secretary wrote to Ngadjiwa, 
to Vermalen the assistant-resident, to the major-cono- 
mandant of the garrison; and the controleur^kotia 
went round the town with increased frequency and at 
unaccustomed hours. Amid all their fussing the ladies 
perceived little of these mysterious doings; and only 
Leonie, who took no part in the preparations, noticed 
in her husband an unusual silent concern. She was a 
quick and keen observer; and, because Van Oudijck, 
who was accustomed often to mention business in the 
domestic circle, had been mute for the last few days, 
she asked suddenly where the Regent of Ngadjiwa 
was, now that he had been dismissed by the govern- 
ment at Van Oudijck's instance, and who was going to 
replace him. He made a vague reply; and she took I 
alarm and became anxious. One morning, passing ) 
throuj^h her husband's bedroom, she was struck by the ' 
whispered conversation between Van Oudijck and the 
chief of police and she stopped to listen, with her car 
against the screen. The conversation was muffled be- 
cause the garden-doors were open ; the oppassers were 
sitting on the garden-steps; a CQuple of gentlemen who 
wished to speak to the resident were walking up and 
down the side-verandah, after writing their names on 
the slate which the chief oppasser brought in to the 
resident. But they had to wait, because the resident 
was engaged with the chief of police. • . , 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 165 

Léonie listened', behind the screen. And she turned 
pale at the sound of a word or two which she over- 
heard. She returned silently to her room, feeling 
anxious. At lunch she asked if it would be really 
necessary for her to attend the fancy-fair, for she had 
had such a toothache lately and she wanted to go to 
Surabaya, to the dentist. It would probably mean a 
few days : she had not been to the dentist for ever so 
long. But Van Oudijck, sterner than usual, in his 
sombre mood of secret concern and silence, told her 
that it was impossible, that on an evening like that of 
the fancy-fair she was bound to be present as the resi- 
dent's wife. She pouted and sulked and held her hand- 
kerchief to her mouth, so that Van Oudijck became 
distressed. That afternoon she did not sleep, did not 
read, did not dream, as a result of this imusual agita- 
tion. She was frightened, she wanted to get away. 
And at tea, in the garden, she began to cry, said that 
the toothache was making her head ache, that it was 
making her quite ill, that it was more than she could 
bear. Van Oudijck, distressed and careworn, was 
touched ; he could never endure to see her tears. And 
he gave in, as he always did to her, where her personal 
affairs were in question. Next day she went off to 
Surabaya, staying at the resident's and really having 
her teeth attended to. 

It was always a good thing to do, once a year or so. 
This time she spent about five hundred guilders* on the 
dentist. After this, incidentally, the other ladies also 
seemed to guess something of what was happening at 
Labuwangi behind a haze of mystery. For Ida van 
Helderen, the tragic white nomna, her eyes starting out ^ 

* Over £40. 




166 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

of her head with -fright, told Eva Eldersma that her 
husband and Eldersma and the resident too were fear- 
ing a rebellion of the population» incited by the regent 
and his family, who would never forgive the dismissal 
of the Regent of Ngadjiwa. The men, however, were 
noncommittal and reassured their wives. But a dark 
swirling tide continued to stir under the apparent calno- 
ness of their little up-country life. And gradually the 
gossip leaked out and alarmed the European iiüiabi- 
tants. Vague paragraphs in the newspapers, com- 
menting on tlie dismissal of the regent, contributed 
to their alarm. 

Meanwhile the busde of preparation for the fancy- 
fair went on, but people no longer put their hearts into 
the work. They led a fussy, restless life and were 
becoming ill and nervous. At night they bolted and 
barred their houses, placed arms by their bed-sides, 
woke suddenly in terror, listening to the noises of the | 
night, which sounded faintly in space outside. And 
they condemned the hastiness shown by Van Oudijdc, 
who, after the scene at the race-ball, had been unable 
to restrain his patience any longer and had not hesi- 
tated to recommend the dismissal of the regent, whose 
house was firmly rooted in the soil of Labuwangi, was 
one with Labuwangi. 

The resident had ordered, as a festival for the popu- 
lation, a passcr-malam^ on the aloon-aloon*, to last 
for a few days, coinciding with the bazaar. There 
would be a people's fair, numbers of little stalls and r 
booths and the Komedic-Stamboul* with plays drawn I 

* Evening market. 

• Square in front of the regent's palace. 
■ Malay theatre. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 167 

from the Arabian Nights. He had done this in order 
to give the Javanese inhabitants a treat which they 
would value greatly, while the Europeans were enjoy- 
ing themselves on their side. It was now a few days 
before the fancy-fair, on the previous day to which, as 
it chanced, the kumpulan} was to be held in the 
Kabupaten. 

The anxiety, the fuss and a general nervousness 
filled the otherwise quiet little town with an emotion 
which made people almost ill. Mothers sent their chil- 
dren away and themselves were undecided what to do. 
But the fancy-fair made people stay. How could they 
avoid going to the fancy-fair? There was so seldom 
any amusement. But ... if there really were a 
rising ! And they did not know what to do, whether to 
take the cloudy menace, which they half-divined, seri- 
ously or make a light-hearted jest of it. 

The day before the kutnpulan Van Oudijck asked 
for an interview with the Raden-Aju Pangéran, who 
lived with her son. His carriage drove past the huts 
and booths in the aloon-aloon and through the 
triumphal arches of the passer-malam, formed of 
bamboo-stems bending towards each other, with a nar- 
row strip of bunting rippling in the wind, so much so 
that, in Javanese, the decorations are known as "rip- 
plings." This evening was to be the first evening of 
the fair. Every one was busy with the final prepara- 
tions; and, in the bustle of hammering and arranging, 
the natives sometimes neglected to cower at the passing 
of the resident's carriage and paid no attention to the 
G:olden pajong which the oppasser on the box held in 
his hands like a furled sun. But, when the carriage 

* Monthly council. 




168 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

turned by the flagstaff and up the drive leading to th 
Kabupaten and they saw that the resident was going tc 
the regent's, groups huddled together and spoke in 
eager whispers. They crowded at the entrance to tbc 
drive and stared. But the natives saw nothing savt 
tlie empty pendoppo^ looming beyond the shadow of 
the waringins, with the rows of chairs in readiness 
The chief of police, suddenly passing on his bicyck, 
caused the groups to break up as though by instinct 

The old princess was awaiting the resident in the 
front-verandah. Her dignified features wore a serene 
expression and betrayed no trace of all that was ragiiv 
within her. She motioned the resident to a chair; and 
the conversation opened with a few ordinary phrases 
Then four sen'-ants approached in a crouching posture: 
one with a bottle-stand ; the second with a tray full oi 
glasses; the third with a silver ice-pail full of brokcfl 
ice ; the fourth, salaamed, without carrying anything. 
The princess asked the resident what he would drink; 
and he replied that he would like a whisky-and-soda. 
The fourth servant came crouching through the othei 
three to prepare the drink, poured in the measure oi 
whisky, opened the bottle of ajer-planda^ with a reporl 
as of a gun and dropped into the tumbler a lump of ice 
the size of a small glacier. Not another word was said 
The resident waited for the drink to grow cold; and 
the four servants crouched away. Then at last Van 
Oudijck spoke and asked if he might speak to her in 
entire confidence, if he could say what he had in lus 
mind. She begged him, civilly, to do so. And in his 
firm but hushed voice he told her, in Malay, in vcrj 

^ Roofed quadrangular space for meetings and entertunmcBttL 

' Soda-water. 



THE HIDDEN FORCE 169 

_- courteous sentences, full of friendliness and flowery 
=-r politeness, how great and exalted his love had been 
r:^-. for the Pangeran and still was for that prince's glori- 
- . ous house, although he. Van Oudijck, to his intense 
51 regret, had been obliged to act coimter to that love, 
.- because his duty commanded him so to act. And he 
z asked her — presuming that it was possible for her, 
as a mother — ^to bear him no grudge for this exercise 
f of his duty: he asked her, on the contrary, to show a 
motherly feeling for him, the European official, who 
; had loved the Pangeran as a father, and to cooperate 
: with him, the official, — she, the mother of the regent — 
by employing her great influence for the happiness and 
r welfare of the populaticoi. Sunario had a tendency, 
s in his piety and his remote gaze at things invisible, to 
i forget the actual realities that lay before his eyes. 
^ Well, he, the resident, was asking her, the powerful, 
r*. influential mother, to cooperate with him in ways 
c which Sunario overlooked, to cooperate with him in 
is^ love and unity. And, in his elegant Malay, he opened 
his heart to her entirely, describing the turmoil which 
r- for days and days had been seething among the in- 
3^ habitants, like an evil poison which could not do other 
than make them wicked and drunk and would probably 
lead to things, to acts, which were bound to have 
lamentable results. He made her feel his unspoken 
view that the government would be the. stronger, that 
a terrible punishment would overtake all who should 
prove guilty, high and low alike. But his language 
remained exceedingly cautious and his speech respect- 
ful, as of a son addressing a mother. She, though she 
understood him, valued the tactful grace of his man- 
ner; and the flowery depth and earnestness of his 




f 



170 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

language made him rise in her esteem and almost sur- 
prised Iier ... in a low Hollander, without birth 
or breeding. 

But he continued. He did not tell her what he 
knew, that she was the instigatress of this obscure 
unrest ; but he excused that tmrest, said that he im- 
derstood it, that the population shared her grief in 
respect of her unworthy son, himself a scion of the 
noble race, and that it was only natural that the people 
should sympathize deeply with their old sovereigi^ 
even though the sympathy was ignorant and illogioL 
For the son was unworthy, the Regent of NgadjiiRi 
had proved himself unworthy and what had happened 
could not have happened otherwise. 

His voice, for a moment, became severe; and she 
bowed her grey head, remained silent, seemed to agree 
But his words now became gentler again ; and once 
more he asked for her cooperation, asked her to use | 
her influence for the best. He trusted her entirely. 
He knew that she held high the traditions of her 
family, loyalty to the Company, unimpeachable lojralty 
to the government. Well, he asked her to direct her 1 
power and influence, to use the love and reverence 
which the people bore her in such a way that she, in 
concert with him, would allay what was seething in 
the darkness ; that she would move the thoughtless to 
reflection; that she would assuage and pacify what 
was secretly threatening, thoughtlessly and frivolously, 
against the firm and dignified authority of the govern- 
ment. And, while he flattered and threatened her in 
one breath, he felt that she — although she hardly spoke 
a single word and merely punctuated his words with 
her repeated saja — ^he felt that she was falling under 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 171 

stronger influence, the influence of the man of 

and authority, and that he was giving her food 

reflection. He felt that, as she reflected, her hatred 

subsiding, her vindictiveness losing its force and 

he was breaking the energy and the pride of the 

ent blood of the Maduran sultans. Under all the 

ers of his speech, he allowed her to catch a glimpse 

itter ruin, of terrible penalties, of the tmdeniably 

ter power of the government. And he bent her 

le old pliant attitude of yielding before the might 

le ruler. He reminded her, in her impulse to rebel 

throw off the hated yoke, that it was better to be 

I and reasonable and to adapt herself placidly to 

gs as they were. She nodded her head softly in 

nt ; and he felt that he had conquered her. And 

aroused a certain pride within him. 

nd now she also spoke and gave the required 

nise, saying in her broken, inwardly weeping voice, 

she loved him as a son, that she would do what 

nshed and would assuredly use her influence, out- 

the Kabupaten. in the town, to still these menac- 

troubles. She denied her own complicity and said 

the unrest arose from the unreflecting love of the 

)le, who suffered with her, because of her son. 

now echoed his own words, save that she did not 

k of unworthiness. For she was a mother. And 

repeated once again that he could trust her, that 

would act according to his wish. Then he in- 

ned her that he would come to the kumpulan next 

with his subordinates and with the native head- 

; and he said that he trusted her so completely 

all of them, the Europeans, would be unarmed. 

looked her in the eyes. He threatened her more 




172 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

by saying this than if he had spoken of arms. For he 
was threatening her — ^without a threatening word, 
merely by the intonation of his Malay speech — ^wifli 
the punishment, with the vengeance of the govcrih 
ment, if a hair was injured of the least of its ofllicialSb 

He had risen from his seat. She also rose, wrung 
her hands, entreated him not to speak like that, en- 
treated him to have the fullest confidence in her and in 
her son. She sent for Sunario. The Regent of 
Labuwangi entered ; and Van Oudijck again repeated 
that he hoped for peace and reason. And he felt, by 
the tone of the old princess in speaking to her son, that 
she wished for peace and reascMi. He fdt that she, tiic 
mother, was omnipotent in the Kabupaten. 

The regent bowed his head, agreed, promised, even 
said that he had already taken pacifying measures, 
that he had always regretted this excitement of tbc I 
populace, that it grieved him greatly, now that the resi- 
dent had noticed it, in spite of his, Sunario's» attempts 
at pacification. The resident did not go further into 
this insincerity. He knew that the discontent was 
fanned from the Kabupaten, but he knew also that he 
had won. Once more, however, he impressed upon 
the regent his responsibility, if anything happened in 
the pcndoppo, next day, during the kumptdan. The 
regent entreated him not to think of such a thing. And 
now, to part on friendly terms, he begged Van 
Oudijck to sit down again. Van Oudijck resumed his 
seat. In so doing, he knocked as though by accident 
against the tumbler, all frosted with the chill of the 
ice, which he had not yet put to his lips. It fell clat- 
tering to the ground. He apologized for his clumsi- 
ness. The Raden-Aju Pangeran had remarked his 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 173 

movement and her old face turned pale. She said 
nothing, but beckoned to an attendant. And the four 
servants appeared again, crouching along the floor, 
and mixed a second whisky-and-soda. Van Oudijck 
at once lifted the glass to his lips. 

There was a painful silence. To what degree the 
resident's movement in^ipsetting the glass was justified 
would always remain a problem. He would never 
know. But he wished to show the princess that, when 
:oming here, he was prepared for anything, before 
Jieir conversation, and that, after this conversation, he 
neant to trust her utterly and completely, not only in 
respect of the drink which she offered him, but next 
lay, at the kumpulan, where he and his officials would 
appear unarmed, and in respect of her influence for 
jood, which would bring peace and tranquillity to the 
people. And, as though to show him that she imder- 
stood him and that his confidence would be wholly 
I'ustified, she stood up and whispered a few words to 
an attendant whom she had beckoned to her. The 
Javanese disappeared and soon returned, crouching all 
the way through the front-verandah and carrying a 
long object in a yellow case. The princess took it 
from him and handed it to Sunario, who took a walk- 
ing-stick from the yellow silk case and offered it to 
the resident as a token of their fraternal friendship. 
Van Oudijck accepted it, understanding the sjrmbol. 
For the yellow silk case was of the colour and the 
material of authority, yellow or gold and silk; the 
stick was of a wood that serves as a protection against 
snake-bites and ill-luck; and the heavy knob was 
kvrought of the metal of authority, gold, in the form of 
the ancient sultan's crown. This stick, offered at such 




174 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

a moment, signified that the Adiningrats submitted T 
anew and that Van Oudijck could trust them. 

And when he took his leave, he felt very proud and 
esteemed himself highly. For by exercising tact, | 
diplomacy and knowledge of the Javanese he had won; 1 
he would have allayed the rebellicxi merely by words. . 
That would be a fact. ' 

That was so, that would be so: a fact. On that 
first evening of the passer-malam, lighted gaily with a 
hundred paraffin-lamps, scented alluringly with the 
trailing odours of cooking food, full of the motley 
whirl of the holiday-making populace, that first even- 
ing was wholly given up to rejoicing; and the people 
discussed with one another the long and friendly visit 
which the resident had paid to the regent and Ws 
mother; for they had seen the carriage with the pajong 
waiting a long time in the drive and the regent's at- 
tendants had told of the present of the walking-stidc. ( 

That was so ; the fact existed and had hai^)ened as j 
Van Oudijck had planned it in advance and compelled | 
it to happen. And that he should be proud of this 
was human. But what he had not compelled op 
planned in advance was the hidden forces, which he 
never divined, whose existence he would deny, always, ' 
in his simple, natural life. What he did not see and . 
hear and feel was the very hidden force, which had ] 
indeed subsided, but was yet smouldering, like a vd- 
canic fire, under the apparently peaceful meadows of I 
flowers and amity and peace ; the hatred which would ; 
possess a power of impenetrable mystery, against \ 
which he, the European, was tmarmed. I 




CHAPTER XXI 

Van Oudijck was fond of certain effects. He did 
not say much about his visit to the Kabupaten that 
day, nor in the evening, when Eldersma and Van 
Helderen came to speak to him about the kumpulan 
which would be held the next morning. They felt 
more or less uneasy and asked if they should go armed. 
But Van Oudijck very firmly and decidedly forbade 
them to take arms with them and said that no one 
was allowed to do so. The officials gave way, but 
nobody felt comfortable. The kumpulan, however, 
took place in complete peace and harmony ; only, there 
were more people moving about among the booths of 
the passer-malam, there were more police at the orna- 
mental arches, with the rippling strips of bunting. 
But nothing happened. The wives indoors were 
anxious and felt relieved when their husbands were 
safely back home again. And Van Oudijck had ob- 
tained his effect. He now paid a few visits, feeling 
sure of his g^p on things, relying on the Raden-Aju 
Pangeran. He reassured the ladies and told them tO' 
think of nothing now except the fancy-fair. But they 
were none too confident. Some families, in the even- 
ing, bolted all their doors and remained in the middle 
gallery with their visitors and children and habus, 
armed, listening, on their guard. 

Theo, to whom his father had spoken in an out- 
burst of confidence, played a practical joke with Addie. 
The two lads, one evening, went round the houses of 
those whom he knew to be most fidgety and made their 




176 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

way into the front-verandah and shouted to ha 
doors opened ; and they could hear the cocking o 
arms in the middle galleries. They had a merry 
ing of it. 

Then at last the fancy-fair took place. Ev; 
organized a series of three tableaux from the A 
ian legend on the stage of the club: Viviai 
Guinevere and Lancelot; in the middle of the g 
was a Madura proa, fitted up like a Viking's si 
which iced punch was served ; a neighbouring s 
factory, always full of fim, famed for its jovial 
had provided a complete Dutch poffertje^^stsll 
nostalgic memory of Holland, with the ladies di 
as Frisian peasant-girls and the young fellows 
the factory as cooks; and the excitement ovc 
Transvaal was represented by a Majuba Hill 
ladies and gentlemen in fantastic Boer cost 
There was not a word about the tremendowi 
quake at Temate, although one half of the receipt 
destined for the devas^ted districts. Under the 
ing festoons of Chinese lanterns slung acros 
gardens, a great sense of fun prevailed, coupled ^ 
readiness to spend pots of money, especially on 1 
of the Transvaal. But amid the merriment thei 
quivered a fear. Groups assembled, peering gl 
were cast at the road outside, where Indos, Javs 
Chinese and Arabs stood roimd the steaming poi 
kitchens. And the visitors, while tossing oflF a gfc 
champagne or toying with a plate of poffertjes, tt 
their ears in the direction of the aloon-aloon, ^ 
the passer-malant was in full swing. When 
Oudijck appeared with Doddie, received with 

* Fritters figuring at every Dutch kermis. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 177 

Neerlandsch Bloed,^ generously distributing HjkS" 
daalders and bankjes,^ he was constantly asked whis- 
pered questions. And when it was seen that Mrs. 
van Oudijck was not coming, people began to ask one 
another where she was. She had been suffering so 
with her teeth, said one ; she had gone to Surabaya to 
see the dentist. They did not think it nice of her; 
they did not like her when they did not see her. She 
was much discussed that evening: the most horrible 
scandals were told about her. Doddie took up her 
stand in the Madura proa as a saleswoman ; and Van 
Oudijck, with Eldersma, Van Helderen and a couple 
of controllers from other districts, went round and 
treated the members of his council. When people asked 
their mysterious questions, with anxious glances at the, 
road, with ears pricked towards the aloon-aloon, he 
reassured them with a majestic smile: nothing was 
going to happen, he pledged his word on it They con- 
sidered him extremely trusting, mightily sure of him- 
self ; but the jovial smile around his thick moustache 
was comforting. He urged all who belonged to his 
good town of Labuwangi to think of nothing but en- 
joyment and benevolence. And, when suddenly the 
Regent, Raden Adipati Sunario, and his wife, the 
young Raden- A ju, appeared at the entrance and paid 
for bouquets, programmes and fans with a hundred- 
guilder bankje, the tension was relaxed throughout 
the garden. Everybody soon knew about the hundred- 
guilder bankje. And they all breathed again, realizing 
that there was now no occasion for anxiety, that there 
would be no insurrection that night They made much 

*The Dutch national anthem. 
' Bank-notes. 




178 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

of the regent and his smiling young wife» who glittered 
with her beautiful jewels. 

Out of sheer relief and relaxation of their tense 
anxiety, out of sheer craziness, they spent more and 
more money tr}nng to vie with the few wealthy 
Chinese — those dating from before the opium- 
monopoly, — the owners of the white marble and stucco 
palaces — as these with their wives, in embroidered 
grey and g^een Chinese costumes, their shiny hair 
stuck full of flowers and precious stones, smelling 
strongly of sandalwood, scattered rijksdaalders broad- 
cast. Money flowed like water, dripped as though in 
silver drops into the collecting-boxes of the delighted 
saleswomen. And the fancy-fair was a success. And, 
when Van Oudijck at last, littie by little, here and 
there, said a word to Doom de Bruijn, to Rantzow, 
to the officials from other residencies about his visit, 
about his interview with the Raden- A ju Pangeran — 
assuming an air of humility and simplicity, but never- 
theless, despite himself, beaming with happy pride, 
with delight in his triumph, — ^then he attained his 
greatest effect. 

The story ran round the garden, of the tact, the 
cleverness of the resident, who had laid the spectre of 
insurrection merely with a word. He received a sort 
of ovation. And he filled every glass with champagne, 
he bought up every fan, he bought all the tickets in 
the tombola that remained unsold. It was his apotheo- 
sis, his greatest moment of success and pc^nilarity. 
And he joked with the ladies and flirted with them. 

The entertainment was prolonged imtfl daylight, 
until six o'clock in the morning. The merry cooks 
were drunk and danced around their poffertjes-stovt. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 179 

^d, when Van Oudijck went home at last, he felt an 
inner mood of self-satisfaction, of strength, he was 
delighted, enraptured with himself. He felt a king in 
lis little world and a diplomatist into the bargain and 
leloved by all whose quiet and peace he had assured. 
That evening made him rise in his own estimation and 
le valued himself more highly than he had ever done 
jefore. Never had he felt as happy as he felt now. 

He had sent the carriage away and he walked home 
with Doddie, A few early salesmen were going to the 
t>asser. Doddie, dog-tired and half-asleep, draped her- 
self along on her father's arm . . . until some one 
passed close beside her and, feeling rather than seeing, 
she suddenly shuddered. She looked up. The figure 
had passed. She looked round and recognized the 
back of the hadji, hurrying away. . , . 

She turned cold and felt as though she would fatnt. 
But then, wearily, walking in her sleep, she reflected 
that she was half dreaming, dreaming of Addie, of 
Patjarara, of the moonlit night under the tjemaras, 
where the white hadji had startled her at the end of 
the avenue. . . . 



n 

2. 
If 

CHAPTER XXII 1 J 

n 
Eva Eldersma was in a more listless and dejected | { 

mood than she had yet experienced in Java. After 5 
her efforts, after the fuss and the success of the fancy- 
fair, after the shuddering fear of a rising, the litde [ 
town conscientiously went to sleep again, as though 
well content to be able to slumber as usual. It was 
December and the heavy rains had begun, as usual, on 
the fifth of the month: the rainy monsoon invariably 
opened on St. Nicholas' Day. The douds which, for 
the past month, continually swelling, had {xled them- 
selves upon the lower horizons, now rose curtain-wisCt 
like water-laden sails higher against the skies, rent 
open as by a sudden fury of far-flashing lightning, 
pouring and lashing down as though this wealth of . 
water could no longer be upheld, now that the swoIleD I 
sails were torn apart, as though all their wanton 
abundance came streaming down from a single rent 
Of an evening, Eva's front-verandah was invaded by a 
crazy swarm of insects, which, drunk with fej^t, 
rushed upon their destruction in the lamps, as in an 
apotheosis of fiery death, filling the lamp-chimneys and 
strewing the marble tables with their fluttering, dying 
bodies. Eva inhaled a cooler air; but a miasma of 
damp, arising from earth and leaves, soaked the walls^ 
seemed to ooze from the furniture, dimming the nur- 
rors, staining the silk hangings and covering boots and 
shoes with mildew, as though nature's frenzied down- 
pour were bent on the ruin of all that was fine and 
delicate, sparkling and graceful in human 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 181 

ment But the trees and foliage and grass shot up 
and expanded and rioted luxuriantly upwards, in a 
thousand shades of fresh green; and, in the reviving 
^lory of verdant nature, the crouching human com- 
munity of open-fronted villas, wet and humid with 
fungi, all the whiteness of the lime-washed pillars and 
flower-pots turned to a mouldy green. 

Eva watched the slow and gradual spoiling of her 
house, her furniture, her clothes. Day by day, in- 
exorably, something was spoilt, something rotted 
away, something was covered with mildew or rust. 
And none of the aesthetic philosophy with which she 
had at first taught herself to love India, to appreciate 
the good in India, to seek in India for the external 
plastic beauty and the inward beauty of soul, was 
able to withstand the streaming water, the cracking of 
her furniture, the staining of her frocks and gloves, 
the damp, mildew and rust that ruined the exquisite 
environment which she had designed and created all 
around her, as a comfort, to console her for living in 
India. All her logic, all her feeling of making the 
best of things, of finding something attractive and 
beautiful after all in the land of all-prevailing nature 
and of people eager for money and positions: all this 
failed her and came to naught, now that she was every 
moment irritated and angered as a housewife, as an 
elegant woman, an artistic woman. No, it was im- 
possible in India to surround one's self with taste and 
exquisiteness. She had been here for only two years 
and she was still able to make a certain fight for her 
western culture ; but nevertheless she was now alreadv 
better able than in the first davs after her arrival to 
understand the laisser-aller of the men, after their 




182 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

hard work, and of the women, in their houseke< 
True, the servants with their soundless mover 
working with gentle hands, willing, never impert 
were to her thinking far superior to the noisy, p 
ing maids in Holland ; but nevertheless she felt 
her household an eastern antagonism to her iv< 
ideas. It was always a struggle not to surrenc 
that laisser-aUer, to the running to waste of the 
large grounds, invariably hung at the back wit 
dirty washing of the servants and strewn with ni 
mangoes; to the gradual spoiling and fading c 
paint of the house, which was also too large, too 
too much exposed to wind and weather to be 
for with Dutch cleanliness ; to the habit of sittin 
rocking, undressed, in sarong and kabaai, with 
bare feet in slippers, because it was really too ho 
sultry to dress (xie's self in a frock or tea-gown, ^ 
only became soaked in perspiration. It was fo 
sake that her husband always dressed for dinner 
black jacket and stand-up collar; but, when sh( 
his tired face, with that more and more fixed, 
tired office expression above that stand-up colla: 
herself begged him not to trouble to dress next 
after his second bath and allowed him to dine in a 
jacket, or even in pyjamas. She thought it tei 
thought it unspeakably dreadful; it shocked al 
ideas of correctness ; but really he was too tired ; 
was too sultry and oppressive for her to expect 
thing more from him. And she, after only two 
in India, understood more and more easily 
laisser-aller — in dress, in body and in soul — ^nov 
every day she lost something more of her fresh, ] 
blood and her western energy, now that she adn 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 183 

certainly, that in India men worked perhaps as in no 
other country, but that they worked with one sole 
object before their eyes: position, money, retirement, 
pension . . . and home, back home to Europe. True, 
there were others, bom in India, who had been out of 
India only once, for barely a year, who would not hear 
of Holland, who adored their land of sunshine. She 
knew that the De Luces were like this ; and there were 
others as well, she knew. But in her own circle of 
civil servants and planters every one had the same 
object in life: position, money . . . and then 
off, off to Europe. Every one calculated the years of 
work still before him. Every one saw before him in the 
future the illusion of that European retirement An 
occasional friend, like Van Oudijck, an occasional 
civil servant, who perhaps loved his work for his 
work's sake and because it suited his nature, feared 
the coming pensioned retirement, which would mean a 
stupid, vegetating existence. But Van Oudijck was an 
exception. The majority worked in the service and 
on the plantations for the sake of the rest to come. 
Her husband also, for instance, was toiling like a 
slave to become assistant-resident and, after some 
years, to draw his pension; he slaved and toiled for 
his illusion of rest. At present she felt her own energy 
leaving her with every drop of blood that she felt 
flowing more sluggishly through her weary veins. 
And, in these early days of the wet monsoon, while the 
eaves of the house incessantly discharged the thick, 
plashing shafts which irritated her with their clatter, 
while she watched the gradual ruin of all the material 
surroundings which she had selected with so much 
taste as her artistic consolation in India, she reached a 




184 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

worse discordant mood of listlessness and 
than she had ever gone through before. Her child 
was still too small to mean much to her, to be a 
kindred spirit. Her husband did nothing but woik 
He was a kind and thoughtful husband to her, a dear 
fellow in every way, a man of great simplicity, whom 
she had accepted, perhaps only because of that sim- 
plicity, because of the quiet serenity of his smiling, 
fair-skinned, Frisian face and the burliness of his 
broad shoulders, after one or two excited, juvenile 
romances of enthusiasm and misimderstanding and 
soulful discussions, romances dating from her girl- 
hood. She, who was herself neither simple nor 
serene, had sought the simplicity of her life in a simple 
romance. But his qualities failed to satisfy her. Now 
especially, when she had been longer in India and was 
suffering defeat in her contest with the country that 
did not harmonize with her nature, his serene conjugal 
love failed to satisfy her. 

She was beginning to feel unhappy. She was too 
versatile a woman to find all her happiness in her litdc 
boy. He certainly filled a part of her life, with the 
minor cares of the present and the thought of Ws 
future. She had even worked out a whole educational 
system for him. But he did not fill her life entirely. 
And a longing for Holland encompassed her, a long- 
ing for her parents, a longing for the beautiful, artis- 
tic home where you were always meeting painters, 
writers, musicians, the artistic salon — an exception in 
Holland — which gathered together for a brief moment 
the artistic elements which in Holland usually re- 
mained isolated. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 185 

The vision passed before her eyes like a vague and 
distant dream, while she listened to the approaching 
thunders that filled the air, sultry to bursting-point, 
while she gazed at the downpour that followed. Here 
she had nothing. Here she felt out of place. Here she 
!iad her little clique of adherents, who collected around 
lerj^ecause she was cheerful; but she found no sort 
:>f deeper sympathy, no serious conversation . . . 
?xcept in Van Helderen. And with him she meant to 
^e careful, so as to give him no illusions. 

There was only Van Helderen. And she thought of 
ill the other people around her at Labuwangfi. She 
thought of people, people everywhere. And very pessi- 
mistic in these days, she found in all of them the same 
egoism, the same self-complacency, the same imattrac- 
tiveness, the same self -absorption: she could hardly 
express it to herself, distracted as she was by the terrific 
force of the pelting rain. But she found in every- 
body conscious and unconscious traits of unloveliness 

. . even in her faithful adherents . . . and 
in her husband . . . and in the men, young wives, 
girls, young men around her. There was nothing 'in 
any of them but his own ego. Not one of them had 
sufficient harmony of mind for himself and another. 
She disapproved of this in one, hated that in another; 
a third and a fourth she condemned entirely. This 
critical attitude made her despondent and melancholy, 
for it was against her nature: she preferred to like 
others. She liked to live, in spontaneous harmony, 
with a numl^er of associates: oripnally she had a pro- 
found love of people, a love of humanity. Great 
questions moved her. But nothing that she felt met 
with any echo. She found herself empty and alone, in 




186 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

a country, a town, an environment in which a 
everything, large and small, offended her sou 
body, her character, her nature. Her husband w* 
Her child was already becoming thoroughly I 
Her piano was out of tune. 

She stood up and tried the piano, with long 
that ended in the Feuerzauber of Valkyrie, B 
roar of the rain was louder than her playing. 
she got up again, feeling desperately dejected, sb 
Van Helderen standing before her: 

"You startled me," she said. 

"May I stay to lunch?" he asked. 'I am j 
myself at home. Ida has gone to Tosari f o 
malaria and has taken the children with her. She 
yesterday. It's an expensive business^ How I 
keep going this month I do not know." 

"Send the children to us after they've had i 
days in the hills." 

'Won't they bother you?" 

"Of course not. I'll write to Ida." 

"It's really awfully good of you. It would cer 
make things easier for me." 

She laughed softly. 

'Aren't you well?" he asked. 
I feel deadly," she said. 
'How do you mean ?" 

"I feel as if I were dying by inches.'* 

"Why?" 

'It's terrible here. WeVe been longing fo 
rains ; and, now that they've come, they are drivir 
mad. And . . . I don't know what: I can't 
it here any longer." 

"Where?" 







"( 



THE HIDDEN FORCE 187 

"In India. I have taught myself to see the good, the 
beautiful in this country. It's all no use. I can't go 
on with it." 

'Go to Holland," he said, gently. 

'My people would be glad to see me, no doubt. It 
would be good for my boy, because he's forgetting his 
Dutch daily, though I had begun to teach it to him so 
conscientiously, and he speaks Malay ... or sinjo. 
But I can't leave my husband here all alone. He 
would have nothing here without me. At least, I 
think so: that is one more sort of illusion. Perhaps 
It's not so at all." 

"But, if you fall ill . . . ?" 

"Oh, I don't know !" 

Her whole being was filled with an tmusual fatigue. 

"Perhaps you're exaggerating!" he began cheer- 
fully. "Come, perhaps you're exaggerating! What's 
upsetting you, what's making you so unhappy? Let's 
draw up an inventory together." 

"An inventory of my misfortunes ? Very well. My 
garden is a marsh. Three chairs in my front-verandah 
are splitting to pieces. The white ants have devoured 
my beautiful Japanese mats. A new silk frock has 
come out all over stains, for no reason that I can make 
out. Another is all unravelled, simply with the heat, 
I believe. To say nothing of various minor miseries 
of the same order. To console myself I took refuge 
in the Feuerzauber. My piano was out of tune; Ï be- 
lieve there are cockroaches walking among the 
strings." 

He gave a little laugh. 

"We're idiots here," she continued, "we Europeans 
in this country! Why do we bring all the para- 




188 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

phemalia of our cosdy civilization with tis, consider 
that it's bound not to last? Why dcm't we live ii 
cool bamboo hut, sleep on a mat, dress in a k 
pandjang and a chintz kabaai, with a scarf over ( 
shoulders and a flower in our hair? All your civili 
tion by wliich you propose to grow rich . . . : 
a western idea, which fails in the long run. Our wh 
administration . . . it's so tiring in the he 
Why — if we must be here — don't we live simj^y a 
plant paddy and live on nothing?" 

"You're talking like a woman/' he said, with i 
other little laugh. 

"Possibly," she said. "Perhaps I don't mean qu 
all I say. But that I feel here, opposing me, <^>posi 
all my western notions, a force which is antagonis 
to me . . . that is certain. I am sometimes frig 
ened. I always feel . . . that I am <mi the point 
being conquered, I don't know what by: by somethi 
out of the ground, by a force of nature, by a secret 
the soul of these black people, whom I don't kno 
. . . I feel particularly afraid at night'* 

''You're overwrought," he said, tenderly. 

"Possibly," she replied, wearily, seeing that he c 
not understand and too tired to go on explainir 
"Let's talk about something else. That table-tumin{ 
very curious." 

"Very," he said. 

"The other day, the three of us: Ida, you ai 
I " 

"It was certainly very curious." 

"Do you rememter the first time? Addie de Luc 
it seems to be true about him and Mrs. van Ou<Ujc 




"] 



THE HIDDEN FORCE 189 

. . . And the insurrection . . . the table fore- 
told it." 

'May we not have suggested it unconsciously?" 
1 don't know. But to think that we should all be 
playing fair and that that table should go tapping and 
talking to us by means of an alphabet !" 

"I shouldn't do it often, Eva, if I were you,*' 

"No, I think it inexplicable. And yet it's already 
beginning to bore me. One grows so accustomed tq 
the incomprehensible." 

"Ever)rthing's incomprehensible." 

"Yes . . . and everything's a bore." 

"Eva!" he said, with a soft, reproachful laugh. 

"I give up the fight. . I shall just sit in my rocking- 
chair . . . and look at the rain." 

"There was a time when you used to see the beau- 
tiful side of my country." 

"Your country? Which you would be glad to leave 
to-morrow to go to the Paris Exhibition !" 

"I've never seen anything." 

"How humble you are to-day!" 

"I am sad, because of you." 

"Oh, please don't be that !" 

"Play something more." 

"Well, then, have your gin-and-bitters. Help your- 
self. I shall play on my out-of-tune piano; it will 
sound as melodious as my soul, which is also all of a 
tangle. . . . " 

She went back to the middle gallery and played 
something from Parsifal, He remained sitting out- 
side and listened. The rain was pouring furiously. 
The garden stood clean and empty. A violent thunder- 
clap seemed to split the world asunder. Nature was 




190 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

supreme; and in her gigantic manifestation the 
people in that damp house were diminished, his 
was nothing, her melancholy was nothing anc 
mystic music of the Grail was as a child's ditty t 
echoing mystery of that thunder-clap, whereat 
itself seemed to sail with heavenly cymbals over 
creatures doomed in the Deluge. 







CHAPTER XXIII 

Van Hclderen's two children, a boy and girl of six 
and seven, were staying at Eva's; and Van Helderen 
came in regularly once a day for a meal. He no 
longer spoke of his intense feeling, as though unwilling 
to disturb the pleasant intiinacy of their daily inter- 
course. And she accepted his daily visits, was power- 
less to keep him at a distance. He was the only man in 
her immediate circle with whom she could speak and 
think aloud ; and he was a comfort to her in these days 
of dejection. She did not understand how she had 
come to this, but she gradually lapsed into an absolute 
apathy, a sort of annihilating condition of thinking 
nothing necessary. She had never been in this state 
before. Her nature was lively and cheerful, seeking 
and admiring the beautiful in poetry and music and 
painting, things which, from her early childhood, from 
her childish books, she had seen about her and felt and 
discussed. In India she had gradually come to lack 
everything of which she felt a need. In her despair 
she succumbed to a sort of nihilism that made her 
ask: 

"WTiat is the reason of ^nythmg? . • . Why 
tlie world and the people in it and the mountains? 
. Why all this tiny whirl of life?" 

And then, when she read of the social movements, 
of the great social problems in Europe, of the in- 
creasingly urgent Indo question in Java, she thought 
to herself: 



i 



192 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

*'Wliy should there be a world, if man eternally? i 
remains the same, small and suffering and oppressed I i 
by all the misery of his humanity?" 

She did not see the purpose of it all. Half of man- 
kind was suffering poverty and struggling upwards 
out of that darkness ... to what ? The oAer 
half was stagnating stupidly and dully amid its richesL 
Between the two was a scale of gradations, froo \ \ 
black poverty to dismal wealth. Over them stood the 
rainbow of the eternal illusions, love, art, the great 
notes of interrogation of justice and peace and an ideal 
future. . . She felt that it was much ado 

about nothing, she failed to see the purpose and she 
thought to herself : 

'"Why is it all so . • . and why the world 
and poor humanity ?" 

She had never felt like this before, but there was no 
struggling against it. Gradually, from day to day, 
India was making her so, making her sick at her very 
soul. Frans van Helderen was her only consolation. 
The young controller, who had never been to Europe; I 
who had received all his education at Batavia, who 
had passed his examinations at Batavia, with his dis- 
tinguished manners, his supple courtesy, his strange, 
enigmatic nationality, had grown dear to her m 
friendship because of his almost exotic development 
She told him how she delighted in this friendship; and 
he no longer replied by offering his love. There was 
too much charm about their present relation. There 
was something ideal in it, which they both needed. In 
their everyday surroundings that friendship shone be- 
fore them like an exquisite halo of which they were 
both proud. He often called to see her, especially now 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 193 

that his wife was at Tosari ; and they would walk in 
the evening twilight to the beacon which stood by the 
sea like a small Eiffel tower. These walks were much 
talked about, but they did not mind that. They sat 
down on the foundation of the beacon, looked out to 
sea and listened to the distance. Ghostly proas, with 
sails like night-birds' wings, glided into the canal, to 
the droning sing-song of the fishermen. A melancholy 
of resignation, of a small world and small people 
hovered beneath the skies filled with twinkling stars, 
where gleamed the mystic diamonds of the Southern 
Cross or the Turkish crescent of the homed moon. 
And, above that melancholy of the droning fishermen, 
of crazy proas, of small people at the foot of the little 
light-house, drifted a fathomless immensity of the 
skies and the eternal stars. And, from out the im- 
mensity, drifted the unutterable, as it were the super- 
humanly divine, wherein all that was small and human 
sank and melted away. 

"Why attach any value to life when I may die to- 
morrow ?" thought Eva. "Why all this confusion and 
turmoil of mankind, when to-morrow perhaps every- 
thing may have ceased to exist?" 

And she put the question to him. He replied that 
each of us was not living for himself and the present 
age, but for all mankind and for the future. But she 
^ave a bitter laugh, shrugged her shoulders, thought 
him commonplace. And she thought herself common- 
place, to think such things that had so often been 
thought before. But still notwithstanding her self- 
criticism, she continued under the obsession of the 
iiselessness of life when everything might be dead to- 
morrow. And an humiliating littleness, as of atoms. 




194 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

overcame them, both of them, as they sat there 
into the spaciousness of the skies and the etern 

Yet they loved those moments, which wer 
thing in their lives ; for, when they did not f < 
pettiness too keenly, they spoke of books, inusi< 
ing and the big, important things of life. A 
felt that, in spite of the circulating library 
Italian opera at Surabaya, they were no longer 
with the world. They felt the great, importan 
to be very far from them. And both of them 
came seized with a nostalgia for Europe, a lor 
feel so very small no longer. They would bo 
liked to get away, to go to Europe. But nei 
them was able. Their petty, daily life held th 
tive. Then, as though spontaneously, in muti 
mony, they spoke of what was soul and being 
the mystery thereof. 

All the mystery. They f dt it in the sea, in t 
but they also quietly sought it in the rapping 1 
table. They did not understand how a soul c 
could reveal itself through a table on whi< 
earnestly laid their hands and which throug 
magnetic fluid was transformed from dead tc 
matter. But, when they laid their hands upoi\ 
table lived and they were forced to believe. TIk 
which they counted out were often confused, ao 
to some strange alphabet; and the table, as 
directed by a mocking spirit, constantly she 
tendency to tease and confuse, to stop suddenl 
be coarse and indecent. Sometimes they reac 
on spiritualism and did not know whether to be! 
not 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 195 

These were quiet days of quiet monotony in the 
ittle town swept by the rustling rain. Their life in 
rommon seemed unreal, like a dream that rose through 
Jie rain like a mist. And it was like a sudden awaken- 
ing for Eva when, one afternoon, walking outside in 
the damp avenue, waiting for Van Helderen, she saw 
Van Oudijck coming in her direction. 

*T was just on my way to you !" he cried, excitedly. 
"I was just coming to ask a favour. Will you help me 
once more?" 

'Tn what, resident ?" 

"But first tell me: aren't you well? YouVe not 
been looking very fit lately." 

"It's nothing serious," she said, with a dreary laugh. 
"It'll pass. What can I help you in, resident ?" 

"There's something to be done, mevrouwt je, and we 
can't manage without you. My wife herself was say- 
ing this morning, TBetter ask Mrs. Eldersma.' " 

"But tell me what it is." 

"You know Mrs. Staats, the station-master's widow. 
The poor woman has been left without a thing, except 
ler five children and some debts." 

"He committed suicide, didn't he?" 

"Yes, it's very sad. And we really must help her. 
[t'U want a lot of money. Sending round a subscrip- 
:ion-Iist won't bring in much. People are very gener- 
ous, but they've already made such sacrifices lately. 
Fhey went mad at the fancy- f air. They can't do much 
for the moment, so near the end of the month. But, 
iarly next month, in the first week of January, mev- 
rouwtje, some theatricals by your Thalia society: You 
know, nothing elaborate, a couple of drawing-room 
sketches and no expenses. Seats at a guilder and a half. 



I 



1 



196 THE TIIDDEN FORCE ' 

two guilders and a half, perhaps, and, if you set it gc- ^ 
ing, the hall will be full ; people wll come over from I 
Surabaya. You must help me, you will, wcm't you?* ' 

"But, resident," said Eva, wearily, "we've just had 
those tahleoAix-viTmnts. Don't be angry with me, but 
I don't care to be always acting/' 

'Tfes, yes, you must this time," Van Oudijck in- 
sisted, a little imperiously, greatly excited about bis 
plan. 

She became peevish. She liked her independence; 
and in these days of dejection particulary she was too 
disconsolate, in these days of dreaming she felt too 
much confused to accede at once with a good grace to ? ^ 
his authoritative request: 

"Really, resident, I can think of nothing this time' 
she answered, curtly. 'Why doesn't Mrs. van Oudijd 
do it herself?" 

She was startled when she had made this peevish I y 
remark. Walking beside her, the resident lost hb I 'y 
composure ; and his face clouded over. The animated, ) y 
cheerful expression and the jovial smile around his j 
thick moustache suddenly disappeared. She saw that 
she had been cruel ; and she felt remorse for it And 
for the first time, suddenly, she saw that, in love with 
his wife though he was, he did not approve of her 
withdrawing herself from everything. She saw that it 
gave him pain. It was as though this side of his 
character were becoming clear to her: she was seeing it 
plainly for the first time. 

He did not know what to reply: seeking for his 
words, he remained silent. 

Then she said, coaxingly: 



E 
I 

V 

n 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 197 

"Don't be angry, resident. It wasn't nice of me. I 
know that all that sort of bustle only bores Mrs. van 
Oudijck. I am glad to relieve her of it. I will do 
anything you wish." 

Her eyes filled with nervous tears. 

He was smiling now and gave her a penetrating 
sidelong glance : 

"You're a bit overstrung. But I knew that you had 
a good heart . . . and would not leave me in the 
lurch . . . and would consent to help that good 
old Mother Staats. But don't throw away any money, 
mevrouwt je: no expense, no new scenery. Just your 
wit, your talent, your beautiful elocution: Frendi or 
Dutch, as you please. We're proud of all that at 
Labuwangi, you know ; and all the beautiful acting — 
which you give us free of expense — is quite enough to 
make the performance a success. But how ovcrstnmg 
you are, mevrouwt je! Why are you crying? Aren't 
you well? Tell me: is there anything I can do for 
vou ? 



"Don't work my husband so hard, resident I never 
see anj-thing of him." 

He made a gesture to show that he could not help 
himself: 

"It's true," he admitted. "There's an awful lot to 
do. Is that the trouble ?" 

"And make me see the good side of India." 

"Is//za/it?" 

"And a lot besides." 

"Are you becoming homesick? Don't you care for 
India any longer, don't you care for Labuwangi, where 
we all make so much of you ? . . . You misjudge 
India. Try to see the good side of it" 




198 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

"I have tried/' 

"Is it no use?" 

"No." 

"You are too sensible not to perceive the gcxxl in tl 
country." 

"You are too fond of it to be impartial. And I doi 
know how to be impartial. But tell me the go 
things." 

"Which shall* I begin with ? The satisfaction of bci 
able, as an official, to do good to the country and t 
people. The fine, delightful sense of working for tl 
country and this people; the ample hard work tl 
fills a man's life out here • • • I'm not speakn 
of all the office-work of your husband, who is 
secretary. But I'm speaking of later on, when ! 
becomes an assistant-resident !" 

"It will be so long before that happens !" 

'Well, then, the spacious material life ?" 

"The white ants gnaw everything." 

"That's a poor joke, mevrouw." 

"Very possibly, resident. Everything is out of to 
with me, inside and out: my wit, my piano and i 
poor soul." 

"Nature, then ?" 

"I don't feel it all. Nature is conquering me a: 
devouring me." 

"Your own activities ?" 

"My activities ? One of the good things in India 

"Yes. To inspire us material, practical people wi 
your wit, now and again." 

"Resident! You're paying me compliments! 
this all on account of the theatricals ?" 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 199 

"And to do good to Mother Staats with that wit of 
iTOurs ?" 

"Couldn't I do good in Europe?" 

"Certainly, certainly," he said, bluffly. "Go to 
Europe, mevrouw, by all means. Go and live at the 
Hague ; join the Charity Organization Society . . . 
ivith a collection-box at your door and a rijksdaalder 

. . how often?" 

She laughed : 

"Now you're becoming imjust. They do a lot of 
jood in Holland too." 

"But do they ever do in Holland for one distressed 
>erson . . . what we, what you are now going 
o do? And don't tell me that there's less poverty 



lere." 



"Well?" 

"Well, then, there is a g^eat deal of good for you 
>ere. Your special activities. Your material and 
noral work for others. Don't let Van Helderen get 
DO much smitten with you, mevrouw. He's a charming 
ellow, but he puts too much literature into his monthly 
eports. ... I see him coming and I must be off. 
)0 I can rely on you ?" 

"Absolutely." 

"When shall we have the first meeting, with the 
ommittee and the ladies?" 

"To-morrow evening, resident, at your house?" 

"Right you are. I shall send round the subscription- 
ists. We must make a lot of money, mevrouw." 

"W'e'll do our best for Mother Staats," she said, 
jcntly. 

He shook her hand and went away. She felt limp, 
he did not know why: 




200 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

"The resident has been warning me against you, » 
because you're too literary !'* she said to Van Heldeim • 
teasingly. 

She sat down in the front-verandah. The skies 
burst asunder; a white curtain of rain descended in 
perpendicular shafts of water. A plague of locusts 
came hopping along the verandah. A cloud of tiny | 
flies hummed in the corners like an Aeolian harp. Eva \ 
and Van Helderen placed their hands on the little taMe \ 
and it tilted its leg with a jerk, while the beetles buzzed 
around them. 




CHAPTER XXIV 

[Tie subscription-list went round. The |Jays were 
ehearsed and performed in three weeks' time; and the 
ommittee handed the resident a sum of nearly fifteen 
lundred guilders^ for Mother Staats. Her debts were 
>aid ; a little house was rented for her ; and she was set 
ip in a small milliner's shop which Eva stocked from 
Paris. All the ladies in Labuwangi gave Mother 
Staats an order ; and in less than a month not only was 
:he woman saved from utter ruin, but her mode of life 
was established, her children were going to school 
again and she was enjoying a pleasant livelihood. All 
this had happened so swiftly and unostentatiously: the 
subscriptions were so munificent ; the ladies so readily 
ordered a dress or a hat which they did not need that 
Eva was astounded. And she had to confess to herself 
that the egoism, the self -absorption, the imlovable 
qualities which she often observed in their, social life — 
in their intercourse, conversation, intriguing and gossip 
— had 'been suddenly thrust into the background by a 
:ommon gift for doing the right thing, quite simply, 
because it had to be done, because there was no question 
ibout it, because the woman had to be assisted. 
Roused from her depression by the bustle of the re- 
learsals, stimulated to brisk action, she appreciated the 
Tetter finer side of her environment and wrote of it so 
rnthusiastically to Holland that her parents, to whom 
ndia was a closed book, smiled. But, although this 
rpisode had awakened a soft and gentle and appreci- 



■ 

It 

sto 



202 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

ative feeling in her, it was only an episode ; and six j ^ 
remained the same when the emotion of it was over. \ h< 
And notwithstanding that she felt the disapproval oi 
Labuwangi around her, she continued to find the maiB 
interest of her life in Van Helderen's friendship. 
For there was so little else. Her little circle of 

M 1 • 

adherents, which she had gathered round her with so I bk^ ^ 
many illusions, which she invited to dinner, to whidi| *ri< 
her doors were always open: what did it actuaHjl ^^ 
amount to ? She now accepted the Doom de Bmijui I P"c 
and the Rantzows as indifferent acquaintances» bat no I ^^^ 
longer as friends. She suspected Mrs, Doom de I ^^' 
Bruijn of insincerity; Dr. Rantzow was too commoo. I ^'^ 
too vulgar; his wife was an insignificant GermaD i ^ 
Hatisfrau, True, they joined in the taUe-tuming; bri 
they reliëhed the absurd ineptitudes, the indecent 
conversation of the mocking spirit She and Van 
Helderen took the whole thing seriously, though she 
thought the table rather comical. And so no one but I 
Van Helderen remained to interest her. J «.^ 

But Van Oudijck had won her admiration. Shelnd I de 
suddenly obtained a glimpse of his character; and, 
though it entirely lacked the artistic charm which had 
hitherto exclusively attracted her in men, she saw the 
fine quality also in this man, who was not at all artistiCi 
who had not the least conception of art, but who had so 
much that was beautiful in his simple, manly idea of 
duty and in the calmness with which he endured tbc | let 

in 
it; 



wv 
fo 
cr 
m 
A 



€Zt 



^ ar 



disappointment of his domestic life. For Eva 
that, though he adored his wife, he did not approve of 
Leonie's indifference to all the interests of wludi Ins 
own life was built up. If he saw nothing more» if he 
was blind to all the rest that went on in his domesdc 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 203 

circle, this disappointment was his secret pain, fo which 
he was not blind, deep down in himself. 

And she admired him; and her admiraticxi was as 
it were a revelation that art does not always stand 
highest in the affairs of this life. She suddenly under- 
stood that the exaggerated importance attaching to art 
in our time was a disease from which she had suffered 
and was still suffering. For what was she, what did 
she do ? Nothing. Her parents, both of them, were 
great artists, true artists ; and their house was like a 
temple and their bias was comprehensible and pardon- 
able. But what of her ? She played the piano pretty 
well ; and that was all. She had a few ideas, a little 
taste ; and that was all. But in her time she had gushed 
with other girls; and she now remembered all that 
foolish gushing, that trick of exchanging letters 
crammed with cheap philosophy and written in a 
modem style distantly aping that of Kloos and Gorter.* 
And thus, for all her depression, her meditation 
carried her a stage further and she tmderwent a certain 
development. For it seemed incredible that she, the 
child of her parents, should not always place art above 
everything else. 

And she had in her that play and counterplay óf 
seeking and thinking in order to find her way, now that 
she was quite lost in a country alien to her nature, 
among people upon whom she looked down, without 
letting them perceive it. She strove to find the good 
in the country, in order to make it her own and cherish 
it ; she was glad to find among the people those few 
who roused her sympathy and her admiration ; but the 
good remained incidental to her, the few people 

* Two modern Dutch poets. 



20 ; THE HIDDEN FORCE ; 

remained exceptional ; and, despite all her seeking and 
thinking, she did not find her way and retained th 
moodiness of a woman who was too European» to» 
artistic, notwithstanding her self-knowledge and coo» 
quent denial of her artistic capacity to live quietly and 
contentedly in an up-country Javanese town, beside a 
husband wrapped up in his office-work, in a dimafc 
that upset her health, amid natural surroundings to 
overwhelmed her and among people whom she disliked 

And, in the most lucid moments of this play zsi 
counterplay, it was the obvious fear, the fear whii 
she felt most definitely of all, the fear which she fill 
slowly approacliing, she knew not whence, she kne» j 
not whither, but hovering over her head, as with th ' 
thousand veils of a fate gliding through the sulti;, 
rain-laden skies. . . • ' 

In these inharmonious moods she had refrained 
from gathering her little clique around her, for she 
herself did not care to take the trouble and her friends 1 
did not understand her well enough to look her np^ j 
They missed the cheerfulness in her which had ai- 1 
tracted them at first. Envy and hostility were now 
given more rein ; and people began to speak freely of 
lier ; she was aflFected, pedantic, vain, proud ; she had 
the pretension always to want to be the first in the 
town ; slic behaved just as though she were the resi- 
dent's wi f c and ordered every <me about She was not 
really pretty, she had an impossible way of dressing, 
her house was preposterously arranged. And then her 
relations with Van Helderen, their evening walks to 
the light-house! Ida heard about it at Tosari, amid 
the band of gossips at the small, poky hotel, where the ) 
visitors arc bored when they arc not going* on ex- \ 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 205 

cursions and therefore sit about in their poky little 
verandahs, almost in one another's pockets, peeping 
into one another's rooms, listening at the thin parti- 
tions ; Ida heard about it at Tosari and it was enough 
to rouse the little Indian woman's white-nontia in- . 
stincts and induce her suddenly, without stating any 
cause, to remove her children from Eva's charge. Van 
Helderen, when he went up for the week-end asked his 
wife for an explanation, asked her why she insulted 
Eva by taking the children away, without a reason, and 
having them up in the hills, thus greatly increasing the 
hotel-bills. Ida made a scene, talking loudly, with 
hysterics which rang through the little hotel, made all 
the visitors prick up their ears, and, like a gale of wind, 
whipped the cackling chatter into a storm. And, with- 
out further explanation, Ida broke with Eva. 

Eva withdrew into herself. Even in Surabaya, 
where she went to do some shopping, she heard the 
scandalous chatter; and she became so sick of her 
world and her people that she silently shrank back into 
herself. She wrote to Van Helderen not to call any 
more. She entreated him to become reconciled with 
his wife. She gave up seeing him. And she was now 
all alone. She felt that she was not in the mood to find 
comfort in any one around her. There was no sympa- 
thy and no understanding in India for such moods as 
hers. And so she shut herself up. Her husband was 
working hard, as usual. But she devoted herself more 
zealously to her little boy, she immersed herself in her 
love for her child. She withdrew herself into her love 
for her house. Well, this was the life of never going 
out, of never seeing any one, of never hearing any 
other music than her own. This was seeking comfort 




206 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

in her house, her child and her books. This was tiw 
personality that she had become after her early illusiooi 
and strivings. She now constantly felt the longing foi 
Europe, for Holland, for her parents, for people oi 
artistic culture. And now it developed into hatred for 
the country which she had at first seen in the over- 
whelming grandeur of its beauty, with its majestic 
mountains and the softly-creeping mystery that lurked 
in nature and humanity. Now she hated nature and 
humanity; and their mystery terrified her. 

She now filled her life with thoughts of her child. 
Her boy, little Otto, was three years old. She would 
guide him, make a man of him. From the day of his 
birth she had had vague illusions of later seeing her 
son a great artist, by preference a great writer, famous 
throughout the world. But she had learnt much since 
then. She felt that art does not always stand supreme. 
She felt that there are higher things, which sometimes, 
in her dejection, she denied, but which were there 
nevertheless, radiant and great. These things had to 
do with the shaping óf the future ; these things had to 
do, above all, with peace, justice and brotherhood. OHl 
the great brotherhood of the poor and the rich ! Now, 
in her loneliness, she contemplated this as the highest 
ideal at which one can work, as sculptors work on a 
monument. Justice and peace would follow. But 
human brotherhood must be aimed at first; and she 
wished her son to work at it. Where? In Europe? 
In India? She did not know; she did not see it before 
her. She saw it in Europe rather than in India, the 
inexplicable, the enigmatical, the fearful remained in 
the foreground of her thoughts. How strange it was, 
how strange 1 . . • 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 207 

She was a woman made for ideals. Perhaps this by 
itself was the simple explanation of what she felt and 
feared ... in India. • . . 

"Your impressions of India are altogether mis- 
taken," her husband would say. ^Tfou see India quite 
wrongly. Quiet .^ You think it's quiet here? Why 
should I have to work so hard, in India, if things were 
quiet at Labuwangi ? . . . We have htmdreds of 
interests at heart, of Europeans and Javanese alike. 
Agriculture is studied as eagerly in this country as 
anywhere. The population is increasing steadily. 
. . . Declining ? A colony in which there is always 
so much going on? That's one of Van Helderen's 
imbecile ideas. Speculative ideas, mere vapourings, 
which you just echo after him. ... I can't 
understand the way in which you regard India nowa- 
days. . . . There was a time when you had eyes 
for all that was beautiful and interesting here. That 
time seems to be past. You ought to go home for a bit, 
really. ..." 

But she knew that he would be very lonely without 
her; and for this reason she refused to go. Later, 
when her boy was older, she would have to go to 
Holland. But by then Eldersma would certainly have 
become an assistant-resident. At present he still had 
seventeen controllers and secretaries above him. It 
had been going on like this for years, that looking 
towards promotion in the distant future. It was like 
yearning after a mirage. Of ever becoming a resident 
lie did not so much as think. Assistant-resident for a 
couple of years or so; and then to Holland, on a 
pension. . . . 




208 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

She thought it a heart-breaking existence, slaving 
one*s self to death like that . . . for Labu- 
wangi! . . . 

She was down with malaria: and her maid, Saiia 
was giving her massage, kneading her aching limk i^ 
with supple fingers. 

"It's a nuisance, Saina, when I'm ill, for you to be 
living in the compound. You'd better move into the , 
house this evening with your four children." 
Saina thought it troublesome, a great susa.^ 
"Why r I 

And the woman explained. Her cottage had bwn i 
left to her by her husband. She was attached to it, 
though it was in an utterly dilapidated conditioa 
Now that the rainy monsoon was on, the rain often 
came in through the roof ; and then she was unable to 
cook and the children had to go without thdr food 
To have it repaired was difficult. She had a ringgif 
a week from the njonja.' Sixty cents of that went on ^ 
rice. Then there were a few cents daily for fish, coco- 
nut oil, sirih; a few cents for fuel. . . . No, 
repairs w-ere out of the question. She would be much 
better off with the kandjcng njonja, much better off on 
the estate. But it would be a sttsa to find a tenant for 
the cottage, because it was so dilapidated ; and the 
njonja knew that no house was allowed to remain 
unoccupied in the compound : there was a heavy fine 
attached to that. ... So she would rather go on 
living in her damp cottage. She could easily stay and 
sit up with the njonja at night; her eldest girl would 
look after the little ones. 

* Fuss, trouble. 

■ Rijksdcaidcr, dollar, 45. 2d, 

' Mistress, mem-sahib. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 209 

And, resigned to her small existence of little miseries, 
Saina passed her supple fingers, with a firm, gentle 
pressure, over her mistress' ailing limbs. 

And Eva thought it heart-rending, this living on a 
rijksdaalder a week, with four children, in a house 
which let in the rain, so that it was impossible to cook 
there. 

"Let me look after your second little daughter, 
Saina," said Eva, a day or two after. 

Saina hesitated, smiled: she would rather not, but 
dared not say so. 

"Yes," Eva insisted, "let her come to me: you will 
see her all day long ; she will sleep in kokkie's room ; I 
shall provide her clothes; and she will have nothing to 
do but to see that my room is kept tidy. You can teach 
her that." 

"So young still, 'nja; only just ten." 

"No, no," Eva insisted. "Let me do this to help you. 
VVTiat's her name ?" 

"Mina, 'nja/' 

"Mina.^ That won't do," said Eva. "That's the 
djait's name. We'll find another for her." 

Saina brought the child, looking very shy, with a 
streak of bedak on her forehead ; and Eva dressed her 
prettily. She was a very attractive little child, with a ^\ 
soft brown skin covered with a downy bloom, and 
looked charming in her new clothes. She sedulously 
piled the sarongs in the clothes-press, with fragrant 
white flowers between the layers: the flowers were 
changed for fresh one's daily. For a joke, because she 
arranged the flowers so prettily, Eva called her MelatL* 

*A white, East-Indian, jasmine-scented flower. 




210 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

Two days later, Saina crouched down before her 
njonja. 

"What is it, Saina?" 

Might the Httle girl come bade to the damp cottage in 
the compound ? Saina asked. 

"Why?" asked Eva, in amazement. 'Isn't your | 
little girl happy here ?" 

Yes, she was, said Saina, bashfully, but she pre- 
ferred the cottage. The njonja was very kind, but 
little Mina would rather be in the cottage. 

Eva was angry and let the child go home, with the | 
new clothes which Saina took away with her as a 1 
matter of course. 

"Why wasn't the child allowed to stay?" Eva asked 
of the latta cook. 

Kokkie at first dared not say. 

"Come, why wasn't she, kokkie f '^ asked Eva» insist- 
ing. 

"Because the kandjeng called the little girl Melati. ' 
. . . Names of flowers and fruits ... arc j 
given only ... to dancing-girls," explained the I 
kokkie, as though expounding a mystery. i 

"But why didn't Saina tell me ?" asked Eva, greatly 
incensed. "I had not the least idea of that !" i 

"Too shy," said the kokkie, by way of excusing 
Saina. ^'Minta ampon, ^nja/'^ 

These were trivial incidents in the daily domestic 
life, little episodes of her housekeeping; but they made 
her feel sore, because she felt behind them as it were a 
wall that always existed between her and the people 
and things of India. She did not know the country, 
she would never know the people. 

*"Beg pardon, ma'am.'* 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 211 

And the minor disappointment of the episodes filled 
her with the same soreness as the greater disappoint- 
ment of her illusions, because her life, amid the daily 
trivialities of her housekeeping, was itself becoming 
more and more trivial 



CITAPTKR XXV 

The early hours of the day were often cool, washed 
clean by the abundant rains; and in the young sunshine 
of those morning hours the earth emitted a tender 
haze, a blue softening of every hard line and cdoor, 
so that the Lange Laan, with its villa residences and 
fenced gardens seemed to be surrounded with the 
vagueness and beauty of a dream-avenue : the dreanh 
columns rose insubstantially, like a vision of pillaitd 
tranquillity ; the lines of the roofs acquired distinction 
in their indefiniteness; the hues of the trees and tbc 
outlines of their leafy tops were etherealized into 
tender pastels of misty rose and even mistier Uue, with 
a single brighter gleam of morning yellow and a distant | 
purple streak of dawn. And over all this morning r 
world fell a cool dew, like a fountain that rose from 
that drenched ground and fell back in pearly drops in 
the childlike gentleness of the first sunbeams. It was 
as though every morning the earth and her people were | 
newly created, as though mankind were newly bom to 
a youth of innocence and paradisal tmconsciousness. t 
But the illusion of the dawn lasted but a minute, bardy 
a few moments: the sun, rising higher in the sky, 
shone forth from tbe virginal mist ; boastfully it un- 
furled its proud halo of piercing rays, pouring down 
its burning gold, full of godlike pride because it was 
reigning over its brief moment of the day, for the 
clouds were already mustering, greyly advancing, like 
battle-hordes of dark phantoms, pressing eerily 
onwards: deep bluish-black and heavy lead-grcy 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 213 

phantoms, overmastering the sun and crushing the 
earth under white torrents of rain. And the evening 
twilight, short and hurried, letting fall veil upon veil 
of crape, was like an overwhelming melancholy of 
earth, nature and life, in which they forgot that para- 
disal moment of the morning; the white rain rustled 
down like an inundating tide of melancholy ; the road 
and gardens were dripping, drinking up the falling 
torrents until they shone like marshy pools and flooded 
meadows in the dusky evening; a chill, spectral mist 
rose on high with a slow movement as of ghostly 
draperies, which hovered over the pools ; and the chilly 
houses, scantily lit with their smoking lamps, round 
which clouds of insects swarmed, falling on every 
hand and dying with singed wings, became filled with 
a yet chillier sadness, an overshadowing fear of the 
menacing world out of doors, of the all-powerful 
cloud-hordes, of the boundless immensity that came 
whispering on the gusty winds from the far-oflF im- 
known, high as the heavens, wide as the firmament, 
against which the open houses appeared unprotected, 
while the inmates were small and petty, for all their 
civilization and science and soulful feelings, small as 
wriggling insects, insignificant, abandoned to the play 
of the giant mysteries blowing up from the distance. 

Leonie van Oudijck, in the half-lit back-verandah of 
the residency, was talking to Theo in a soft voice: and 
Oorip squatted beside her. 

"It's nonsense, Oorip!" she cried, peevishly. 

"Really not, kandjcng," said the maid. 'It's not 
nonsense. I hear them every evening." 

"Where?" asked Theo. 




214 THE HIDDEN FORCE 



''In the waringin-tree behind the house, high up, in 
the top branches." 

"It's Luaks/'' said Theo. 

"It's not luaks, tuan/'^^ the maid insisted. ^'MassaP 
As if Oorip didn't know how wild cats mew I Know, 
kriow: that's how they go. What we hear every night 
is the pontianaks^ It's the little children crying in the 
trees. The souls of the little children, crying in the 



trees." 



"It's the wind, Oorip." 

*' Massa, kandjcng, as if Oorip couldn't hear the 
wind ! Boo-ooh : that's how the wind goes ; and then 
the branches move. But this is the little children, 
moaning in the top boughs; and the branches don't 
move them. This is tjelaka,^ kandjeng/* 

"And why should it be tjelakaf'^ 

"Oorip knows but dares not tell. TentuJ^ the kand- 
jeng will be angry." 

"Come, Oorip, tell me." 

"It's because of the kandjeng tuan, the kandjeng 
residónr 

"Why?" 

"The other day with the passer ntalan in the aloonr 

aloon and the passcr-malam for the orang-hlanda^ in 

the kebon-kotta/'^ 

nVild cats. 
*• Madam. 

• "Come, come I** 

• Ghosts. 

• A bad omen. 

•To a certainty, beyond a doubt 

•White people. 

* Village garden, horticultural garden. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 215 



it} 



"Well, what about it?'' 

"The day wasn't well-chosen, according to the 
petangans. It was an unlucky day. . • . And with 
the new well ..." 

"What about the new well ?" 

"There was no sedeka,^ So no one uses the new 
well. Every one fetches water from the old well. . 
. . The water's not good either. For from the new 
well the woman rises with the bleeding hole in her 
breast. • . . And Miss Doddie . . ." 
What of her?" 

'Miss Doddie has seen the white hadji going by! 
The white hadji is not a good hadji. He's a ghost. 

. . Miss Doddie saw him twice: at Patjaram and 
liere. . . . Listen, kandjeng!" 

"What?" 

"Don't you hear? The children's little souls are 
noaning in the top boughs. There's no wind blowing 
it this moment. Listen, listen: That's not /«aJbj.' The 
'tiaks go kriow, know, when they're courting ! These 
ire the little souls !" 

They all three listened. Leonie mechanically pressed 
:loser to Theo. She looked deathly pale. The roomy 
:)ack-verandah, with the table always laid, stretched 
iway in the dim light of a single hanging lamp. The 
lalf-swampcd back-garden gleamed wet out of the 
larkness of the waringins, full of pattering drops but 
Tiotionless in the impenetrable masses of their velvety 
foliage. And an inexplicable, almost imperceptible 
crooning, like a gentle mystery of little tormented 
souls, whimpered high above their heads, as though in 
the sky or in the topmost branches of the trees. Now 

* Sacrifice, offering. 




216 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

it was a short cry, then a moan as of a little sick duU,! th< 
then a soft sobbing as of little girl-children in miscrf.l thi 

"What sort of animal can it be?" asked Theo. T»| lo 
it birds or insects ?" I ft 

The moaning and sobbing was very distinct. Léooie \ d 
looked white as a sheet and was trembling all over. tl 

"Don't be so frightened," said Theo. "Of course 
it's animals." 

But he himself was white as chalk with fear; anl 
when they looked each other in the eyes, she tmderstood 
that he too was afraid. She clutched his arm, nestkd j 
up against him. The maid squatted low, humbly, as I 
though accepting all fate as an impenetrable mjrsteij. 
She did not wish to run away. But the esres of 4c 
white man and woman held only one idea, the idea of 
escaping. Suddenly, both of them, the step-motber 
and the step-son, who were bringing shame upon the 
house, were afraid, as with a single fear, afraid as of a I 
threatening punishment. They did not speak, they svd 
nothing to each other; they leant against each other, 
understanding each other's trembling, two white 
children of this mysterious Indian soil, who from their 
childhood had breathed the m)rstic air of Java and bad 
tuiconsciously heard the vague, stealthily approadiing \ 
mystery as an accustomed music, a music which they 
had not noticed, as though mystery were an accustomed 
thing. As they stood thus, trembling and looking at 
each other, the wind rose, bearing away with it tiic 
secret of the tiny souls, bearing away with it the little 
souls themselves: the interlacing branches swayed 
angrily and the rain began to fall once more. A shud- 
dering chill came fanning up, filling the house ; a sud- 
den draught blew out the lamp. And they remeed in 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 217 

he dark, a little longer, she, despite the openness of 
he verandah, almost in the arms of her step-son and 
over ; the maid crouching at their feet. But then she 
Hung off his arm, flung off the black oppression of 
darkness and fear, filled with the rustling of the rain ; 
the wind was cold and shivery and she staggered in- 
doors, on the verge of fainting. Theo and Oorip 
followed her. The middle gallery was lighted. Van 
.Oudijck's office was open. He was working. Leonie 
stood irresolute, with Theo, not knowing what to do. 
The maid disappeared, muttering. It was then that 
she heard a whizzing sound and a small rotmd stone 
flew through the gallery, fell somewhere near at hand. 
She gave a cry; and, behind the screen which divided 
the gallery from the office where Van Oudijck sat at 
his writing-table, she flung herself once more into 
Theo's arms, abandoning all her caution. They stood 
shivering in each other's arms. Van Oudijck had 
heard her : he stood up, came from behind the screen. 
His eyes blinked, as though tired with working. 
Leonie and Theo had recovered themselves. 

"What is it, Leonie?" 

"Nothing," she said, not daring to tell him of the 
h'ttle souls or of the stone, afraid of the threatening 
punishment. 

She and Theo stood there like criminals, both of 
them white and trembling.* Van Oudijck, his mind 
still on his work, did not notice anything. 

"Nothing," she repeated. "The mat is frayed and 
and I nearly stumbled. But there was some- 
thing I wanted to tell you. Otto." 

Her voice shook, but he did not hear it, blind to 
what she did, deaf to what she said, still absorbed in 
his papers. 




218 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

"What's that?" 

"Oorip has suggested that the servants woulc 
to have a scdcka, because a new well has been bu 
the grounds . • . " 

"That well which is two months old?" 

"They don't make use of the water/' 

"Why not?" 

"They are superstitious, you know; they refuse 
use the water before the sedeka has been given." 

"Then it ought to have been done at once. \M 
didn't thcv tdl Kario at once to ask me? I can't thin 
of all that nonsense myself. But I would have give 
them the scdcka then. Now it's like mustard aftci 
meat. The well is two months old." 

"It would be a good thing all the same, Papa," said 
Theo. "You know what the Javanese are like: they 
won't use the well as long as they've not had a 
scdcka," 

"No," said Van Oudijck, unwillingly, shaking his 
head. "To give a sedeka now would have no sense in 
it. I would have done so gladly; but now, after two 
months, it would be absurd. They ought to have asked 
for it at once." 

"Do, Otto," Leonie entreated. "I should give them 
the scdcka. You'll please me if you do." 

"ATamma half promised Oorip," Thco insisted 
«^fcntly. 

They stfK)d trembling before him, white in the face, 
like petitioners. But he, weary and thinking of his 
papers, was seized with a stubborn unwillingness, 
though he was seldom able to refuse his wife anything. 

"No, Leonie," he said, decidedly. "And jrou must 
never promise things of which you're not certain." 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 219 

He turned away, went round the screen and sat 
down to his work. 

They looked at each other, the mother and the step- 
son. Slowly, aimlessly, they moved away, to the 
Front-verandah, where a moist, dripping darkness 
irifted between the stately pillars. They saw a white 
Form coming through the swamped garden. They 
)tarted, for they were now afraid of everything, 
hinking at the sight of every figure of the chastise- 
nent that would overtake them like a strange thing, so 
ong as they remained in the paternal house which 
hey had covered with shame. But, when they looked 
nore closely, they saw it was Doddie. She had come 
lome; she said, trembling, that she had been at Eva 
Eldersma's. Actually she had been walking with 
\ddie de Luce ; and they had sheltered from the rain 
n the compound. She was very pale, she was trera- 
Aing; but Leonie and Theo did not notice it in the 
lark verandah, even as she herself did not see that 
ler step-mother and Theo were pale. She was 
rembling like that because in the garden — Addie had 
wrought her to the gate — stones had been thrown at 
ler. It must have been some impudent Javanese, who 
lated her father and his house and his household ; but, 
n the dark verandah, where she saw her step-mother 
md her brother sitting side by side in silence, as 
hough in despair, she suddenly felt, she did not know 
vh\% that it was not an impudent Javanese. 

She sat down by them, silently. They looked out 
Lt the damp, dark garden, over which the spacious 
light was hovering as on the wings of a gigantic bat. 
\nd in the mute melancholy which drifted like a grey 
wilight between the stately white pillars, all three of 



220 



THE HIDDEN FORCE 



them — Doddie singly, but the step-mother and step 
togetlier — felt frightened to death and crushed by 
strange thing that was about to befall them. . . 




iCHAPTERXXVI 

\nd, despite their anxiety, the two sought each 
•ther all the oftener, feeling themselves now bound by 
ndissoluble bonds. In the afternoon he would steal 
o her room ; and, despite their anxiety, they lost them- 
dves in wild embraces and then remained dose to- 
j-ether. 

"It must be nonsense, Leonie," he whispered. 

''Yes, but then what is it?" she murmured in re- 
urn. "After all, I heard the moaning and heard the 
stone whizz through the air." 

"And then?" 

nVhat r 

"If it is something . . . suppose it is some- 
thing that we can't explain." 

"But I don't believe in it !" 

"Nor I. . . . Only ..." 

"What?" 

"If it's something . . . i ƒ it's something that 
we can't explain, then . . ." 

"Then what ?" 

"Then . . . it's not because of us!'* he whis- 
pered, almost inaudibly. "Why, Oorip said so her- 
self! It's because of papa!" 

"Oh, but it's too silly!" 

"I don't believe in that nonsense either." 

'*The moaning ... of those animals." 

"And that stone . . . must have been thrown 
bv some wretched fellow . . - one of the serv- 
ants, a beggar who is putting himself forward 
. . . or who has been bribed. . . ." 




222 THE HIDDEN FORCE 



«1 

4(i 



'Bribed? . . . By whom?" 

'By . . . by the regent. • . ." 

Why, Theo!" 

'Oorip said the moaning came from the Kat 
ten . . ." 

''What do you mean ?" 

"And that tliey wanted to torment pscpSL from i 

9» 

• • • 

"To torment him ?" 

"Because the Regent of Ngadjiwa has been 
missed." 

"Does Oorip say that?" 

"No, I do. Oorip said that the regent had o 
powers. That's nonsense, of course. The felloe 
scoundrel. He has bribed people . • . to ^ 
papa," 

"But papa notices none of it. . . ." 

"No. . . . We mustn't tell him either. . 
That's the best thing to do. . • » We must ig 
it" 

"And the white hadji, Theo, whom Doddie 
twice. . . . And, when they do table-tur 
at Van Helderen's, Ida sees him too. . . . " 

"Oh, another tool of the regent's, of course !" 

"Yes, I expect that's true. . . . But 
wretched all the same, Theo. . . • My 
Theo, I'm so frightened f" 

"Of that nonsense ? G)me, come !" 

"If it's anything, Theo . • • it has not 
to do with us, you say ?" 

He laughed : 

"What next? What could it have to do with 
I tell you, it's a practical joke of fhe regt 
• • • 







THE HIDDEN FORCE 223 

k 

•^ 

«> 

, "We oughtn't to be together any more." 
y "No, no, I love you, Fm mad with love for you !" 
'i He kissed her fiercely. They were both afraid. But 
lie rallied Leonie: 

"Come, Leonie, don't be so superstitious." 
"When I was a child, my babu told me . . ."^ 
She whispered a story in his ear. He turned pale: 
Leonie, what rot !" 

Strange things happen here, in India. . 
If they bury something belonging to you, a pocket- 
handkerchief or a lock of hair, they are able — simply 
by witchcraft — to make you fall ill and pine away and 
die . . . and not a doctor can tell what the ill» 
ness is. . . ." 
"That's rubbish r 
"It's really true !" 

"I didn't know you were so superstitious!" 
"I used never to think of it. I've begun to think of 
it just lately. . . , Theo, can there be any- 
thing?" 

"There's nothing . . . but kissing." 
"No, Theo, don't, be quiet, I'm frightened. . . . 
It's quite late. It gets dark so quickly. Papa ha» 
finished his sleep, Theo. Go away now, Theo 
. . . through the boudoir. I want to take my 
bath quickly. I'm frightened nowadays when it gets 
dark. There's no twilight, with the rains. The even- 
ings come all of a sudden. . . . The other day, 
I had not told them to bring a light into the bathroom 
and already it was so dark ... at 
only half past five . . . and two bats were fly- 
ing all over the place: I was so afraid that they would 
catch in my hair. . . • Hush! Is that papa?"^ 




224 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

"No, it's Doddie: she's playing with her cockatoa" 

"Go now, Theo." 

He went through the boudoir, and wandered into the 
garden. She got up, flung a kimono over the sarom 
which she had knotted loosely under her arms and 
called Oorip: 

"Bawa harang ^nandi!"^ 

''Kandjcngr 

"Where are you, Oorip ?" 

"Here, kandjeng/' 

"Where were you?" 

"Here, outside the garden-door, kandjeng. . . . 
I was waiting," said the girl, meaningly, ini|dying that 
she was waiting until Theo had gone. 

"Is the kandjeng tuan up?" 

"Suda . . had his bath, kandjeng/' 

"Then fetch the things for my bath. . . . 
Light the little lamp in the bathroom. . . . Yes- 
terday evening the glass was broken and the lamp was 
not filled. . . ." 

"The kandjeng never used to have the lamp lit in 
the bathroom." 

"Oorip . . . has anytl-ing happened . . . 
this afternoon ?" 

"No, everything has been quiet. . . . But oh. / 
when the night comes! . . . All the servants 
are frightened, kandjeng. . . . The kokkie says 
she won't stay. 

"Oh, what a susaf . . . Oorip, promise her 
five guilders . . • as a present ... if 
she stays. . . ." 

"The spen is frightened too, kandjeng.'^ 

*"Briag the bath-things." 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 225 



"Oh, what a susa! . . . I've never had such 
a susa, Oorip. . . .'* 

"No, k and j eng," 

"I have always been able to arrange matters so 
well. . . But these are things . . . !" 

''Apa bole buat,^ kandjeng? . . . Things are 
stronger than men. ..." 

"Mightn't it really be luaks . . . and a man 
throwing stones?" 

"Massa, kandjeng!'' 

"Well, bring my bath-things. . . . Don't for- 
get to light the little lamp. . . . " 

The maid left the room. The dusk began to fall 
softly through the air, soft as velvet after the rain. 
The great residency stood still as death amid the dark- 
ness of its giant warningins. And the lamps were 
not yet lit. In the front verandah, Van Oudijck, by 
himself, lay in his pyjamas on a wicker chair, drinking 
tea. In the garden the dense shadows were gathering 
like strips of immaterial velvet falling heavily from 
the trees. 

''Tukan-lampun 

"Kandjcngr 

"Come, light the lamps ! Why do you begin so late ? 
Light the lamp in my bedroom first. . . . " 

She went to the bathroom. She went past the IcMig 
row of gudangs and servants' rooms which shut off 
the back-garden. She looked up at the waringins in 
whose top branches she had heard the little souls moan- 
ing. The branches did not move, there was not a 
breath of wind, the air was sultry and oppressive with 

'"What can one do?* 
• Lamp-boy. 



1 



i 

226 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

a threatening storm, with rain too heavy to falL In 
the bathroom, Oorip was lighting the littie lamp. 
"Have you brought everything, Oorip?" 
*'Saja, kandjeng," \ \ 

"Haven't you forgotten the big bottle with the white ( 
ajenvangi?"^ 

Isn't this it, kandjeng f^' 

'Yes, that's right. . . . But do give mc a fa 
towel for my face in future. I'm always telling yw 
to give me a fine towel. I hate these coarse OQe& ^ i- 



"] 



c 

s 



"I'll run and fetch one." 

"No, no f Stay here, stay and sit by the door." | t 

*^Saja, kandjeng/' 

"And you must have the keys seen to by a tuku»- 
besie.^ We can't lock the bathroom-door. . . . 
It's too silly, when there are visitors." 

"I'll remember to-morrow." 

"Mind you don't forget/' 

She shut the door. The maid squatted down outside 
the closed door, patient and resigned under the big 
and little things of life, knowing nothing but loyattj 
to her. mistress, who gave her pretty sarongs and pflod 
her wages in advance as often as she wanted than. 

In the bathroom the little nickel lamp i^eamed 
faintly over the pale-green marble of the wet floor; 
over the water brimming in the square sunk bath. 

"I'll have my evening bath a little earlier in 
future," thought Leonie. 

She removed her kimono and sarong; and, stanfiog 
naked, she glanced in the mirror at her soft, nulk* 

* Toilet-water. 
•Smith. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 227 

white contours, the rounded outlines of an amorous 
woman. Her fair hair shone like gold; and a pearly 
lustre spread from her shoulders down over her bosom 
and vanished in the shadow of her small, round breasts. 
She lifted her hair, admiring herself, examining her- 
self for a chance wrinkle, feeling whether her flesh 
was hard and firm. One of her hips arched outwards, 
as she rested her weight on one leg ; and a long white 
high-light curved caressingly past her thigh and knee, 
disappearing at the instep. But she gave a start as 
she stood thus absorbed in admiration: she had meant 
to hurry. She quickly tied her hair into a knot, 
covered herself with a lather of soap and, taking the 
gajofig,^ poured the water over her body. It flowed 
heavily over her in long smooth streams; and her 
gleaming shoulders, breasts and hips shone like marble 
in the light of the little lamp. . . . Yes, she 
would bathe earlier in future. It was already dark 
outside. 

She dried herself hurriedly, with a rough towel. 
She just rubbed herself, briskly, with the white oint- 
ment which Oorip always prepared, her magic elixir 
of youtli, suppleness and firm whiteness. 
At that moment, she saw on her thigh a small red spot. 
She paid no attention to it, thinking that there must 
have been something in the water, a tiny leaf, a dead 
insect. She rubbed it off. But, while rubbing herself, 
she saw two or three larger spots, deep scarlet, on 
her chest. She turned suddenly cold, not knowing 
what it was, not understanding. She rubbed herself 
down again ; and she took the towel, on which the spots 
had left something slimy, like clotted blood. A shiver 

* Scoop, bowL 



228 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

ran over her from head to foot. And suddenly she 
saw. The spots came out of the comers of the bath- 
room — how and where she did not see— first small 
then large, as though spat out by a dribbling, betd- 
chewing mouth. Cold as ice, she gave a scream. The 
spots, now closer together, became full, like blobs of 
purple saliva spat against her. Her body was soiled 
and filthy with a grimy, dribbling redness. One spot I 
struck her in the eye. 

The slimy blobs of spittle marked the greenish white 
of the floor and floated in the water that had not yet 
run off. They also fouled the water in the bath and 
dissolved in filtli. She was all red, stained and un- 
clean, as though defiled by a foul scarlet shame which 
invisible betel-chewing mouths hawked and spat upon 
her from the comers of the room, aiming at her hair, 
her eyes, her breasts, her flanks. She uttered ydl 
upon yell, driven crazy by the strangeness of what 
was happening. She mshed to the door, tried to open 
it, but Üiere was something amiss with the handle 
For the key was not tumed in the lock, the bolt was not 
shot. She felt her back spat upon again and again ; and 
the red dripped off her. She screamed for Oorip and 
heard the girl outside the door, pulling and puling. 

At last the door yielded. And, desperate, mad, dis- 
traught, insane, naked, befouled, she threw herself into 
her maid's arms. The servants came running up. She 
saw Van Oudijck, Theo and Doddie hastening from 
the back-verandah. In her utter madness, with her 
eyes staring widely, she felt ashamed not of her nudity 
but of her defilement. The maid had snatched the 
kimono, also befouled, from the handle of the door 
and threw it round her mistress. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 229 

"Keep away I" Léonie yelled, desperately. "Don't 
come any nearer!" she screamed madly. "Oorip, 
Oorip, take me to the swimming-bath ! A lamp, a lamp 
• . . in the swimming-bath!" 

"What is it, Léonie?" 

She refused to say: 

"I've . . . trodden . . . on a • • • 
toad!" she screamed. "I'm afraid ... of 
itch! . . . Don't come any nearer! Tvc got 
nothing on! . . . Keep away! Keep away! 
. A lamp, a lamp ... a lamp, I tell 
you ... in the swimming-bath! 
No, Otto ! Keep away ! Keep away ! I'm undressed ! 
Keep away! Bawa . . . la-a-antpu!"^ 

The servants scurried past one another. One of 
them brought a lamp to the swimming-bath. 

"Oorip I Oorip!" 

She clutched her maid: 

"They've spat at me . . . with sirih! • . . 
Tliey've spat . . . at me . . . with 
sirih! . . . They've spat . . . at me 
with siriht" 

"Hush, kandjcng! . . . Come along . . . 
to the swimming-bath !" 

"Wash me, Oorip! . . . Oorip, my hair, my 
eyes! O God, I can taste it in my mouth ! . . ." 

She sobbed despairingly; the maid dragged her 
along. 

"Oorip! First look . . . prcksa? . 
if they're spitting ... in the swimming-bath 
too!" 

* "Brïng a lamp !" 
■"Look and sec" 




230 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

The maid went in, shivering: 

'There's nothing there, kandjeng/' 

"Quick then, Oorip, bathe me, wash me." 

She flung off the kimono; her beautiful body b^ 
came visible in the light of the lamp, as though scxlcd ( 
with dirty blood. 

"Oorip, wash me. . . . No, don't go for 
soap : water will do ! . . . Don't leave me alone! 
Oorip, wash me here, can't you ? . . . Bum tbc 
kimono ! Oorip !" 

She ducked in the swimming-bath and swam round I 
desperately: the maid, half-undressed, went in after 
her and washed her. 

"Quick, Oorip! Quick: only the worst places! 
. I'm frightened! Presently . . . 
presently they'll be spittbg here! . . . In the 
bedroom next, Oorip! . • Call out that there's 

to be no one in the garden I I won't put the kimono 
on again ! Quickly, Oorip, call out ! I want to get 
away !" 

The maid called across the garden, in Javanese. 

Leonie, all dripping, stepped out of the water and, 
naked and wet, flew past the servants' rooms, with the 
maid behind her. Inside the house. Van Oudijdc, | 
frantic with anxiety, came running towards her. 

"Go away, Otto ! Leave me alone I Tve . . . 
I've got nothing on !" she screamed. 

And she rushed into her room and, when Oorip had 
followed her, locked all the doors. 

In the garden the servants crept together, under the j 
sloping roof of the verandah, close to the house. The 
thunder was muttering softly and a silent rain was htr 
ginning to fall. . . . 




CHAPTER XXVII 

éonie kept her bed for a couple of days with nerv- 
us fever. People at Labuwangi said that the resi- 
ency was haunted. At the weekly assemblies in the 
lunicipal Garden, when the band played and the chil- 
ren and the young people danced on the open-air 
:one floor, there were whispered conversations around 
le refreshment-tables touching the strange happenings 
1 the residency. Dr. Rantzow was asked many ques- 
ions, but could only tell what the resident had told 
lim, what Mrs. van Oudijck herself had told him, of 
ler being frightened in the bathroom by an enormous 
oad, on which she had trodden and stumbled. There 
vas more known through the servants, however; 
hough, when one spoke of the stone-throwing and the 
iViA-spitting, another laughed and called it all babu- 
alk. And so uncertainty prevailed. Nevertheless, the 
>apers throughout the country, from Surabaya to 
Jatavia, contained short paragraphs of a curious 
lature, which were not very lucid but which suggested 

good deal. 

Van Oudijck himself discussed the matter with no- 
odv, neither with his wife and his children, nor with 
he officials or with the servants. But on one occasion 
le came out of the bathroom looking deathly pale, wnth 
yes staring wildly. He went indoors quietly, how- 
ver, and pulled himself together: and no one noticed 
nything. Then he spoke to the chief of police. There 
fc-as an old graveyard next to the residency-grounds, 
"his was now watched day and night ; also the outer 




232 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

wall of the bathroom. The bathroom itself was i 
longer used ; they took their baths instead in the vii 
tors* bathroom. 

As soon as Mrs. van Oudijck had recovered, si 
went to stay with friends at Surabaya. She did n 
return. She had gradually, and unostentatiously, wit 
out a word to Van Oudijck, made Oorip pack up b 
clothes and all sorts of knicknacks to which she ws 
attached. Trunk upon trunk was sent after he 
When Van Oudijck happened to go to her bedroom a 
day, he found it empty of all but the furniture. Nun 
berless things had disappeared from her boudoir als 
He had not observed the dispatch of the trunks, but 1 
now imderstood that she would not return. He cai 
celled his next reception. It was December ; and Rei 
and Ricus were to come from Batavia for the Chris 
mas holidays, for a week or ten days ; but he cancellc 
the boys' visit. Then Doddie was invited to stay s 
Patjaram, with the De Luce family. Although» wit 
the instinct of a full-blooded Hollander, he did n( 
like the De Luces, he consented. They were fond c 
Doddie there: she would have a better time than s 
Labuwangi. He had given up his idea, the hope dia 
Doddie would not become Indianized. Suddenl} 
Theo also went away: through Leonie's influence witi 
commercial magnates at Surabaya, he at once obtsdnci 
a well-paid l)crth in an export-and-import business. 

Van Owcl5 jck was left all alone in his big house. A 
the kokkic and the spcn had run away, Eldersma a» 
Eva constantly asked him to meals, both to lunch aw 
dinner. He never mentioned his house at their taH< 
and it was never discussed. What he discussed confi 
dentially with Eldersma, as secretary, and with Vai 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 233 

Helderen, as controller, these two never mentioned, 
•treating it all as an official secret. The chief of pdice, 
who had been accustomed daily to make his brief re- 
port — that nothing particular had happened, or that 
there had been a fire, or that a man had been wounded 
— now made long, secret reports, with the doors of the 
office locked, to prevent the oppassers outside from 
listening. Gradually all the servants ran away, de- 
parting stealthily in the night, with their families and 
their household belongings, leaving their huts in the 
compound empty. and dirty. They did not even stay 
in the residency. Van Oudijck let them go. He kept 
only Kario and the oppassers; and the prisoners tended 
the garden daily. Thus the house remained ap- 
parently unaltered, outside. But, inside, where noth- 
ing was looked after, the dust lay thick on the furni- 
ture, white ants devoured the mats, mildew and patches 
of moisture came through the walls. The resident 
never went through the house, occupying only his bed- 
room and his office. His face began to wear a look of 
gloom, like a bitter, silent doubt. He worked more 
conscientiously than ever and stimulated his subordi- 
nates more actively, as though he were thinking of 
nothing but the interests of Labuwangi. In his iso- 
lated position, he had no friend and sought none. He 
bore everything alone, on his own shoulders, on his 
own back, which grew bent with approaching age: 
the heavy burden of his house, which was being 
destroyed, and of his family life, which was breaking 
up amid the strange happenings that escaped his police, 
his watchmen, his personal vigilance and his secret 
spies. He discovered nothing. Nobody told him any- 
thing. No one threw any light on anything. 



234 TT IF. PIIDÜEX FORCE 

And the strange happenings continued. A mirror ^' 
was smashed by a great stone. Calmly he had the 
pieces cleared away. It was not his nature to beUere | 
in the supernatural character of possibilities ; and he 
did not believe in it He was secretly enraged at being 
unable to discover the culprits and an explanation of 
the events. But he refused to believe. He did not b^ 
lieve when he found his bed soiled and Kario, squatting 
at his feet, swore that he did not know how it bad 
happened. He did not believe when the tumbler whidi 
he lifted broke into slivers. He did not believe when 
he heard a constant irritating hammerings overhead 
But his bed was soiled, his glass did break, the hana- 
mering was a fact. He investigated all these facts. 
as punctiliously as though he were investigating a crim- 
inal case, and nothing came to light He remamed 
unperturbed in his relations with his European and 
native officials and with the regent. No one reniariced 
anything in his behaviour; and in the evenings he 
worked on, defiantly, at his writing-table, while tiie 
hammering continued and the night fell softly in tbe 
garden, as by enchantment. 

On the steps outside, the oppassers crept together, ( 
listening and whispering, glancing round timorously at 
their master who sat writing, with a frown of con- 
centration on his brows: 

"Doesn't he hear it?" 

"Yes, yes, he's not deaf." 

"He must hear it." 

"He thinks he can find it out through djagas/'^ 

"There are soldiers coming from Ngadjr 

"From Ngadjiwa!" 

* Police-dctcctives. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 235 



"Yes, he does not trust the djagas. He has written 
to the tuan major." 

"To send soldiers?" 

"Yes, there are soldiers coming." 

"LxK)k at him frowning." 

"And he just goes on working !" 

"I'm frightened. I should never dare to stay if I 
aadn't got to." 

"I'm not afraid to stay, as long as he's there." 

"Yes, . . . he's brave." 

"He's plucky." 

"He's a brave man." 

"But he doesn't understand it." 

"No, he doesn't know what it is." 

"He thinks it's rats." 

"Yes, he has had a search made for rats upstairs, 
under the roof." 

"Those Hollanders don't know things." 

"No, they don't understand." 

"He smokes a lot." 

"Yes, quite twelve cigars a day." 

"He doesn't drink much." 

"Xo . . . only his whisky-and-soda of an 
even in. <:;•." 

"He'll ask for it presently." 

"Xo one has staved with him." 

"Xo. The others understood. They've all left." 

"He ;:!^oes to bed very late.' 

"Yes, he's working hard." 

"He never sleeps at night, only in the afternoon.' 

"Look at him frowning. 

* He never stops working.' 

"0/>/>a^.'" 



y» 




236 THE HIDDEN FORCE 



"He's calling." 
"Kandjeng?" 



'He's calling; 

'Kaaidjeng?' 

'Bazva whisky-and-scxiaJ 

One of the oppassers rose, to fetch the drink, 
had everything ready to hand, in the visitors' winj 
avoid having to go through the house. The ot 
pressed closer together and went on whispering. 
moon pierced the clouds and lit up the garden and 
pond as witli a humid vapour of silent enchantni 
The oppasser had mixed the drink ; he returned, sq 
ted and offered it to the resident. 

"Put it down," said Van Oudijck. 

The oppasser stood the tumbler on the writing-t 
and crept away. The other oppassers whispered 
gether. 

"Oppasr cried Van Oudijck. 

''Kandjengr 

"What have you put in this glass?" 

The man trembled and shrank awaj at 
Oudijck's feet: 

"Ka'ndjeng, it's not poison ; I swear it by mjr life 
my death ; I can't help it, kandjeng. Kick me, kill 
I can't help it, kandjeng/* 

The glass was a dull yellow. 

"Fetch another tumbler and fill it before me." 

The oppasser went away, trembling. 

The others sat close together, feeling the contac 
one another's bodies through the sweat-soaked c 
of their liveries, and stared before them in disn 
The moon rose from its clouds, laughing and mod 
like a wicked fairy; its moist and silent enchantn 
shone silver over the wide garden. In the dista: 
from the garden at the back, a plaintive cry rang 
as though a child were being throttled. 




CHAPTER XXVIII 



"And how are you, mevrouwtjc? How's the de- 
pression? Is India suiting you any better to-day?" 

His words sounded cheerful to Eva, as she saw him 
coming through the garden, on the stroke of eight, 
for dinner. His tone expressed nothing more than 
the gay greeting of a man who has been working hard 
at his desk and is delighted to see a pretty woman at 
whose table he is about to sit. She was filled with sur- 
prise and admiration. There was not a suggestion of 
a man who is plagued all day long, in a deserted house, 
by strange and incomprehensible happenings. There 
was hardly a shadow of dejection on his wide fore- 
head, hardly a care seemed to rest upon his broad, 
slightly bowed back; and the jovial, smiling line about 
his thick moustache was there as usual. Eldersma 
came up; and Eva divined in his greeting, in his pres- 
sure of the hand, a silent freemasonry of things known, 
of confidences shared in common. And Van Oudijck 
drank his gin-and-bitters in a perfectly normal man- 
ner, spoke of a letter from his wife, who was probably 
j^oing on to Batavia, said that Rene and Ricus were 
staying in the Preanger^ with friends who had a plan- 
tation there. He did not speak of the reason why they 
were not with him, why he had been entirely abandoned 
by his family and ser\'ants. In the intimacy of their 
circle, which he now visited twice a day for his meals, 
he had never spoken of this. And, though Eva did not 
ask any questions, it was making her extremely nerv- 

* The chief coffec-growmg district of Java. 




238 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

ous. So close to the house, the haunted house, whose 
pillars she could see by day in the distance, gleaming 
through the foliage of the trees, she became mort ; 
nervous every day. All day long, the servants whis- 
pered around her and peered timidly at the haunted 
rcsidinan^ At night, unable to sleep, she strained her 
ears to hear whether she could detect anything strange, 
the moaning of the little children. The Indian night 
was so full of voices that it could but make her shud- 
der on her bed. Through the imperious roaring of 
the frogs for rain and rain and more rain still, the 
constant croaking on the one roaring note, she heard 
thousands of ghostly sounds that kept her from sleep- 
ing. Through it all the tokkès and geckos emitted thdr 
clockwork strokes, like strange mysterious timefneccs. 
She thought of it all day long. Eldersma did not 
speak of it either. But, when she saw Van Oudijdc 
come to lunch or dinner, she had to compress her lips 
lest she should question him. And the conversation 
touched upon all sorts of topics, but never upon the 
strange happenings. After lunch. Van Oudijck went 
across to the residency again; after dinner, at ten 
o'clock, she saw him once more vanish into the haunt- 
ing shadow of the garden. With a calm step, every 
evening he went back, through the enchanted nigfatp to 
his wretched, deserted house, where the oppasser and 
Kario sat squatting close together outside his office; 
and he worked until late in the night. He never com- 
plained. He pursued his enquiries closely, au through 
the kotfa, but nothing came to light. Everything con- 
tinued to happen in impenetrable mystery. 

'Residenpy, resident's house. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 239 

"And how does India suit you this evening, 
mevrouwt je?" 

It was always more or less the same pleasantry ; but 
each time she admired his tone. Courage, robust self- 
confidence, a certainty in his own knowledge, a belief 
in what he knew for certain : all these rang in his voice 
ivith metallic clearness. Miserable though he must feel 
— ^he, the man of profoundly domestic inclinations and 
of cool, practical sense — ^in a house deserted by those 
who belonged to him and full of inexplicable happen- 
ings, there was not a trace of doubt or dejection in his 
unfailing masculine simplicity. He went his way and 
did his work, more conscientiously than ever; he con- 
tinued his investigations. And at Eva's table he always 
kept up an animated conversation, oh politics in India 
and the new craze for having India ruled from Holland 
by laymen who did not know even the A. B. C. of the 
business. And he talked with an easy, pleasant 
vivacity, free from all effort, till Eva came to admire 
him daily more and more. But with her, a sensitive 
woman, this became a nervous obsession. And once, 
in the evening, as she was walking a little way with 
him, she asked him if it wasn't terrible, if he couldn't 
leave the house, if he couldn't go on circuit, for a good 
long time. She saw his face clouding at her questions. 
But still he answered kindly, saying that it was not so 
bad, even though it was all inexplicable, and that he 
would back himself to get to the bottom of the con- 
juring. And he added that he really ought to be going 
on circuit, but that he would not go, lest he should 
seem to be running away. Then he hurriedly pressed 
her hand and told her not to upset herself and not to 
think about it any more or talk about it The last 




240 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

words sounded like a friendly admonition. She pressed 
his hand once more, with tears in her eyes. And she 
watched him walk away, with his calm, firm step, and 
disappear in the darkness of his garden, where the en- 
chantment must be creeping in tlirough the croaking 
of the frogs. But standing there like that made her 
shudder ; and she hurried indoors. And she felt that 
her house, that roomy house of hers, was small and 
unduly open and defenceless against the vast Indian 
night, which could enter from every side. 

But she was not the only person obsessed by tiie 
mysterious happenings. Their inexplicable nature lay 
like an oppression over the whole town, so completely 
did it clash with the things of everyday life. The 
mystery was discussed in every house, but only m a 
whisper, lest the children should be frightened and the 
servants perceive that people were impressed by the 
Javanese conjuring, as the resident himself had called 
it. And the uneasiness and depression were making 
ever>'b(xly ill with nervous apprehension and listening 
when the darkness was teeming with voices in the 
night, which drifted down on the town in a dense, vel- 
vety grcyness ; and the town seemed to be hiding itsdf 
more deeply than ever in the foliage of its gardens, 
seemed, in these moist evening twilights, to be shrink- 
ing away altogether in dull, silent resignation, bowing 
before the mystery. 

Then Van Oudijck thought it time to take strong 
measures. He wrote to the major commanding the 
garrison at Ngadjiwa to come over with a captain, a 
couple of lieutenants and a company of soldiers. That 
evening, the officers, with the resident and Van 
Helderen, dined at the Eldersmas'. They hurried 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 241 

through their meal ; and Eva, standing at the garden- 
gate, saw them all — the resident, the secretary, the 
controller and the four officers — go into the dark 
garden of the haunted house. The residency-grounds 
were shut off, the house surrounded and the church- 
yard watched. The men went to the bathroom by 
themselves. 

They remained there all through the night. And 
ill through the night the grounds and house remained 
shut off and surrounded. They came out at about five 
o'cIckIc and went straight to the swimming-bath and 
bathed, all of them together. What had happened to 
them they did not say, but they had had a terrible 
night. That morning the bathroom was pulled down. 

They had all promised Van Oudijck not to speak 
about that night; and Eldersma would not tell any- 
thing to Eva, nor Van Helderen to Ida. The officers 
loo. on their return to Ngadjiwa, were silent. They 
merely said that their night in the bathroom was too 
improbable for any one to believe the story. At last 
one of the young lieutenants allowed a hint of his ad- 
ventures to escape him. And a tale of «n/kspitting 
and stone-throwing, of a floor that heaved, while they 
struck at it with sticks and swords, and of something 
more, something unutterably horrible that had hap- 
pened in the water of the bath, went the rounds. Every 
one now added something to it. When the story 
reached Van Oudijck's ears, he hardly recognized it 
as an account of the terrible night, which had been 
terrible enough without any additions. 

Meanwhile Eldersma had wTitten a report of their 
united vic:il; and they all signed the improbable story. 
Vnn Oudijck himself took the report to Batavia and 



242 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

delivered it to the governor-general with his o 
hands. Thenceforth it slumbered in the scoA \mr 
archives of the government. 1 seb 

The governor-general advised Van Oudijck to « con 
to Holland on leave for a short period, assuring \m La 
that this leave would have no influence on his pronfr' 
tion to a residency of the first class, which was neu^ 
due. He refused this favour, however, and returaei 
to Labuwangi. The only concession which he mdt 
was to move into Eldersma's house until the residenq 
should be thoroughly cleaned. But the flag continiiBi 
to wave from the flagstaff in the residency-groundl 

On his return from Batavia» Van Oudijck often mt 
Sunario, the regent, on matters of business. And* 
his intercourse with the regent, the resident remaiixi 
stern and formal. Then he had a brief interview, firtl 
with the regent and afterwards with his mother, the 
Raden-Aju Pangéran. The two conversations did not 
last longer than twenty minutes. But it appeared that 
those few words were of great and portentous moment 

For the strange happenings ceased. When cvcry- 
tliing had been cleaned and repaired, under Eva's 
supervision, Van Oudijck compelled Léonie to come 
back, because he wished to give a great ball on New 
Year's Day. In the morning, the resident received all 
his European and native oflicials. In the evening, the 
guests streamed into the brightly lit galleries from 
every part of the town, still inclined to shudder and 
very inquisitive and instinctively looking around and 
above them. And, while the champagne went round, 
Van Oudijck himself took a glass and offered it to the 
regent, with a deliberate breach of etiquette; and, m 
a tone of solemn admonition mingled with good- 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 243 

Liimoured jest, he uttered these words, which were 
^ized upon and repeated on every hand and which 
»ntinued to be repeated for months throughout 
Labuwangi: 

"Drink with an easy mind, regent. I give you my 
word of hosiour that no more glasses will be broken in 
my house, except by accident or carelessness/' 

He was able to say this because he knew that — this 
time — ^he had been too strong for the hidden force, 
merely through his simple courage as an official, a Hol- 
lander and a man. 

But in the regent's gaze, as he drank, there was still 
a very slight gleam of irony, intimating that, though 
the hidden force had not conquered — this time — it 
would yet remain an enigma, forever inexplicable to 
the short-sighted eyes of the Europeans. . 




CHAPTER XXIX 

Labuwangi came to life again. It was as tfaou^ 
people unanimously agreed not to discuss the straoge 
affair any further with outsiders, because it was so 
excusable that any one should refuse to believe in tiic 
thing ; and they, at Labuwangi, believed. And the up* 
country town, after the mystic oppression under wWch 
it had lain cowering during those unforgettable weeks, 
came to life again, as though shaking off all its obses- 
sion. Party followed upon party, ball upon ball, 
theatricals upon concert: all threw open their doors to 
entertain their friends and make merry, in order to fed 
normal and natural after the incredible nightmare. 
People so accustomed to the natural and tang^Ie life. 
to the spacious and lavish material existence of India— 
to good cooking, cool drinks, wide beds, roomy houses, 
to everything that represents physical luxury to the 
European in the east — such people breathed again and 
shook off the nightmare, shook off the belief in strange 
Jiappenings. If and when they discussed the thing 
nowadays, they commonly called it that inconqm- 
hcnsiblc conjuring — echoing the resident — ^the regent's 
conjuring-tricks. For that he had something to do 
wilh it was certain. That the resident had hdd a 
terrible threat over him and his mother, if the strange 
happenings did not cease, was certain. That, after 
this, order had been restored in everyday life was cer- 
tain. So it was conjuring. All were now ashamed of 
their credulity and their fears and of having shuddered 
at what had looked like mysticism and was only dcvcr 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 245 

conjuring. And all breathed again and made up their 
minds to be cheerful; and entertainment followed upon 
entertainment. 

Leonie, amid all this dissipation, forgot her irrita- 
tion at having been recalled by Van Oudijck. And 
she too was determined to forget the scarlet pollution 
of her body. But something of its terror lingered in 
her. She now bathed early of an afternoon, as early 
as hal f -past four, in the newly-built bathroom. Her 
second bath always gave her a certain shudder. And, 
now that Theo had a berth in Surabaya, she got rid of 
himj also, from terror. She could not get rid of the 
idea that the enchantment had threatened to punish 
both of them, the motiier and son, who were bringmg 
shame on tlie home. In the romantic side of her 
perverse imagination, in her rosy fancy full of cherubs 
and cupids, this idea, inspired by her fears, struck too 
precious a note of tragedy for her not to cherish it, 
for all that Theo might say. She would go no further. 
And it made hira furious, because he was mad with 
love for her, because he could not forget the disgrace- 
ful delight which he had enjoyed in her arms. But she 
steadily refused him and told him of her dread and 
said she was certain that the witchcraft would begin 
again if they two loved each other, he and his father's 
wife. Her words drove him scarlet with fury, on the 
one Sunday which he spent at Labuwangi: he was 
furious with her non-compliance, with the motherly 
attitude which she now adopted and with the fact, 
of which he was well aware, Uiat she saw Addie often, 
that she often went to stay at Patjaram. Addie danced 
with her at parties and hung over her chair at con- 
certs, in the improvised residential box. True, he was 



246 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

not faithful to her, for it was not his nature to love I 
one woman — he loved women wholesale — but still he 
was as faithful to her as he was able to be. He id- 
spired her with a more lasting passion than she hid 
ever felt before ; and this passion roused her from her 
usual passive indifference. Often, in company, suf- 
fering and inflicting boredom, enthroned in the faril- ,jusl 



spo 

tUr 
con 

ins 



_ i 



froi 
the 

gbf 



liance of her white beauty, like a smiling idd, wSn 
the languor of her years in India gradually filling her 
blood until her movements had acquired that lazjr in- 
difference for anything that did not spell love and Idea 
caresses, until her voice had assumed a drawling aocent i bee 
in any word that was not a word of passion: often she iTo; 
w^ould become transfigured, by the flame wUch AASt ik 
shed over her, into a younger wcnnan, livelier in com- 1 F 
pany, gayer, flattered by the persistent homage of Ais I u 
youth, on whom every girl was mad. I j 

And she delighted in monopolizing lum as ntudi as 1 a 
she could, to the vexation of aU the girls and of Dod& | \ 
in particular. In the midst of her passion she also 1 1 
took an evil pleasure in tantalizing, merely for tas- 
talizing's sake: it gave her an exquisite enjo3rment;it 
made her husband jealous — ^perhaps for the first timCi 
for she had always been very careful — and made Theo 



and Doddie jealous; she aroused the jealousy of every n 
young married woman and every girl ; and, since Ac \ i 



stood above all of tliem, as the resident's wife, she had 
an ascendancy over all of them. When, of an eve- 
ning, she had gone too far, she delighted in winning 
back, with a smile, with a gracious word, the {dace in 
their affection which she had lost through her flirta- 
tions. And, strange though it might seem, she sod- j 
ceeded. The moment they saw her, the moment die 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 247 

fcoke, smiled and exerted herself to be amiable, she 
on back all she had lost and was forgiven every- 
ing. Even Mrs. Eldersma allowed herself to be 
^nquered by the strange charm of this woman who 
as neither witty nor intelligent, who merely became 
St a little more cheerful, who roused herself a little 
om her boring lethargy, who triumphed only through 
« lines of her body, the contour of her face, the 
ance of her strange eyes, restful and yet full of hid- 
ïn passion, and who was conscious of all her charm 
icause she had meditated upon it since her childhood, 
ogether with her indifference, this charm constituted 
er strength. Fate seemed to have no hold upon her. 
•^or it had indeed touched her with a strange magic, 
ntil she thought that a chastisement was about to 
escend upon her, but it had gone its way again, drifted 
ivay. But she accepted the warning. She had done 
ith Theo and henceforth affected a motherly attitude 
►wards him. It made him furious, especially at these 
irties, now that she had grown yoimger, livelier and 
ore seductive. 

His passion for her began to bum to hatred. He 
ited her now, with all the instinct of a fair-haired 
itive, for that was what he really waSy'desfMte his 
hite skin. For he was his mother's son rather than 
s father's. Oh, he hated her now, for he had felt 
s fear of the punishment only for an instant and 
? ... he had forgotten everything by. now! 
nd his one idea was to injure her . . • how he 
id not yet know, but to injure her so that she might 
!el pain and suffer. The process of thinking it over 
nparted a Satanic gloom to his small, murky soul. 
Jthough he did not think about it, he felt uncon- 




248 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

sciously that she was as though invulnerable; 
felt that she boasted inwardly of her invuhu 
and that it made her daily more brazen and ind: 
She was constantly staying at Patjaram, on an) 
that offered. The anonymous letters whic 
Oudijck still often showed her no longer di 
her; she was growing accustomed to them, 
turned them to him witliout a word; once s 
forgot them, left them lying about in th( 
verandah. Once Theo read them. In a sudd 
of light, due to he knew not what, suddenly he 
to recognize certain characters, certain strok 
remembered, in the compound, near Patjaram, 
half bamboo, half packing-case-boards, where 
Addie de Luce had been to see Si-Oudijck 
papers hastily raked together by an Arab. H 
vague recollection of seeing those same chc 
those strokes, on a scrap of paper on the fl< 
passed vaguely and quick as lightning thro 
head. But it was no more than a lightning-fla5 
small, murky soul had room for nothing but dul 
and troubled calculation. But he had not sense 
to follow out that calculation. He hated his f j 
instinct and innate antipatby ; his mother, becj 
was a nonna; his step-mother, because she had 
with him; he hated Addie and Doddie into 1 
gain ; he hated the world, because it made hir 
He hated every berth he had ever had : he no^ 
his office at Surabaya. But he was too lazy 
muddle-headed to do any harm. Rack his b: 
he might, he could not discover how to hi 
father, Addie and Léonie. Everything about 1 
vague, turbid, dissatisfied, indistinct. The ol 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 249 



lis desire was money and a fine woman. Beyond this, 
ie had nothing in him but the dull-witted gloom and 
liscontent of the fat, fair-haired sinjo that he was. 
\jid he continued to brood impotently over his murky 
houghts. 

Until now, Doddie had always been very fond of 
^onie, instinctively. But she was no longer able to 
onceal the fact from herself: what she had first 
bought an accident — Mamma and Addie always seek- 
ng each other with the same smile of allurement, one 
irawing the other the length of the great room, as 
though irresistibly — was not an accident at all ! And 
>he too hated mamma now, mamma with her beautiful 
calmness, her soveran indifference. Her own violent, 
passionate nature was coming into collision with that 
Dther nature, with its milk-white, Creole languor, which 
low for the first time, late in the day, because of the 
;heer kindliness of fate, was letting itself go as it 
pleased, without reserve. She hated mamma ; and her 
latred resulted in scenes, scenes of nervous, loud- 
.roiced temper in Doddie contrasting with the irritating 
ralmness of mamma's indifference, scenes caused by 
ill sorts of little differences of opinion: a visit, a ride 
>n horse-back, a dress, a sambal which the one liked 
md the other did not. Then Doddie wanted to have 
ler cry out on papa's breast, but Van Oudijck would 
lot admit that she was in the right and said that she 
nust show more respect for mamma. But once, when 
Doddie had come to him for consolation and he re- 
proached her for going for walks with Addie, she 
screamed out that mamma herself was in love with 
Addie. Van Oudijck angrily ordered her out of the 
room. But it all agreed too closely — ^the anonymous 




250 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

letters, his wife's new-bom flirtations, Doddi 
cusations and what he himself had noticed at 1 
few parties — not to give him food for reflecti 
even to worry him. And, once he began to woi 
reflect upon it all, memories came suddenly 
into his mind like sudden flashes of lightning: i 
ies of an unexpected visit; of a locked door 
moving curtain; of a whispered word and a 
averted glance. He pieced it all together and \ 
suddenly recollected those same subtle memc 
combination with others, of an earlier date. ] 
once aroused his jealousy, a husband's jealous} 
wife whom he loves as his most personal pos; 
This jealousy burst upon him like a gust oi 
blowing its way through his concentration u] 
work, confusing his thoughts as he sat writing, 
him suddenly run out of his office, during the 
cases, and search Leonie's room and lift up a 
and even look under the bed. 

And now he no longer consented to have 
staying at Patjaram, advancing as his prete 
the De Luces should not be encouraged in the 1 
getting Doddie as a wife for Addie. For he da 
speak to Leonie of his jealousy. . . . Thai 
should ever get Doddie for his wife ! . . . 
there was native blood in his daughter too; 
wanted a full-blooded European as his son-in-la 
hated anything half-caste. He hated the De 
and all the up-country, Indian, half-Solo tradit 
that Patjaram of theirs. He hated their gai 
their hobnobbing with all sorts of Indian he 
people whom he accepted officiallyp allowin{ 
their rights, but, apart from this, regarded 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 251 

avoidable instruments of the government policy. He 
hated all their posing as an old Indian family and he 
hated Addie: an idle youth, who was supposed to be 
•mployed in the factory but who did nothing at all, 
ixcept run after every woman, girl and maid-servant 
n the place. He, the older, industrious man, was un- 
ible to understand that kind of existence. 

So Leonie had to do without Pat jaram ; but in the 
mornings she went quietly to Mrs. van Does and met 
Addie in this lady's little house while Mrs. van Does 
herself went out peddling, in a tjikar,^ with two jam- 
pots of intetv-inten and a bundle of batik bedspreads. 
Then, in the evenings, Addie would stroll out with 
Doddie and listen to her passionate reproaches. He 
laughed at her tempersome displays, took her in his 
arms till she hung panting on his breast, kissed the re- 
proaches from her mouth till she melted away 
amorously on his lips. They went no further, feeling 
too much afraid, especially Doddie. They strolled 
behind the compounds, on the galangans^ of the 
sazcahs, while swarms of fire-flies whirled about them 
in the dark like tiny lanterns ; they strolled arm-in-arm, 
they walked hand-in-hand, in enervating, caressing 
love, which never dared to push matters any farther. 
^Vlien she came home again, she was furious, raging 
at mamma, in whom she envied the calm, smiling 
satiety as she lay musing, in her white tea-gown, with 
I touch of powder on her face, in a cane chair. 

And the house, newly painted and whitewashed after 
the strange happenings, which were now past, the 
louse was filled with a hatred that rose on every hand, 

* Little cart 
•Narrow irrigation-dikes. 




252 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

as it were the very demoniacal bloom of that strange 
secret ; a liatred centring upon that silent woman, vk 
was too languid to hate and only delighted in siloc 
tantalizing; a jealous hatred of the father for the sot 
when he saw him too often sitting beside his step-l 
mother, begging, in spite of his own hatred, for son» 
thing, the father did not know what ; a hatred of tia 
daughter for the mother; a hatred in which all tbis 
family-life was being wrecked. How it had all 
gradually come about Van Oudijck did not know. He 
sadly regretted the time when he was blind, when he 
had seen his wife and children only in the light in 
which he wished to see them. That time was past 
Like the strange happenings of not so long ago, a 
hatred was now rising out of life, like a miasma oat 
of the ground. And Van Oudijck, who had ncrcr 
been superstitious, who had worked on coolly and 
calmly in his lonely house, with the incomprehensible 
witchcraft all about him; who had read reports whifc 
the hammering went on above his head and his whiskr- 
and-so<la changed colour in his glass ; Van Oudijck for 
tlic first time in his life — ^now that he saw the gloomy 
glances of Theo and Doddie; now that he suddenly 
(Hscovcred his wife, growing more brazen daily, sit- 
tin,q^ hand-in-hand with young De Luce, her knees 
almost touching his — ^Ijecame superstitious, believing 
in a hidden force which lurked he knew not where, in 
India, in the soil of India, in a deep-seated mystery, 
somewhere or other, a force that wished him ill b^ 
cause he was a European, a ruler, a foreigner on the 
mystic, sacred soil. And, when he saw this supersti- 
tion within himself, something so new to him, the 
practical man, something so strange and incredible to 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 253 

him, a man of single-minded, masculine simplicity, he 
was afraid of himself, as of a rising insanity, which 
he began to perceive deep down within himself. 

And, strong though he had proved himself to be at 
the time of the strange happenings, which he had been 
able to exorcize with a single word of threatening 
force, this superstition, which came as an aftermath 
of those events, found a weakness in him, a vulnerable 
spot as it were. He was so much surprised at him- 
self that he did not understand and was afraid lest he 
might be going mad ; and still he worried. His health 
was undermined by an incipient liver-complaint; and 
he kept on examining his jatmdiced complexion. Sud- 
denly he had an idea that he was being poisoned. The 
kitchen was searched, the cook subjected to a cross- 
examination ; but nothing came to light. He realized 
that he had been frightened by nothing. But the doc- 
tor declared that he had an enlarged liver and pre- 
scribed the usual diet. A thing which otherwise he 
would have thought quite natural — an illness which 
occurred so frequently — now of a sudden struck him 
as strange, a mysterious event; and he worried over 
it. And it got on his nerves. He began to suffer from 
sudden weariness when working, from throbbing 
headaches. His jealousy upset him ; he was overcome 
by a shuddering restlessness. He suddenly reflected 
that, if there were now any hammering above his head, 
if betel- juice were now spat at him, he would not be 
able to stav in the house. And he conceived a belief 
in a hatred that rose slowly around him out of the 
hostile soil, like a miasma. He believed in a force 
deep-hidden in the things of India, in the nature of 
Java, in the climate of Labuwangi, in the conjuring — 




254 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

as he continued to call it — which sometimes makes 1 
Javanese cleverer than the European and gives him 1 
power, a mysterious power, not to release himself fn 
the yoke, but to cause illness, lingering illness, 
plague and harass, to play the ghost most incredii 
and hideously: a hidden force, a hidden power, host 
to our temperament, our blood, our bodies, our sou 
our civilization, to all that seems to us the right tht 
to do and be and think. It had flashed before him 
in a sudden light, it was not the result of thought, 
had flashed out before him as in a dreadful revelatie 
which was utterly in conflict with all the logic of 1 
methodical mode of thought. In a vision of terror 
suddenly saw it before him, as the light of his i 
proaching old age, as men who are growing old 
sometimes suddenly perceive the truth. And yet 
was young still and hale. And he felt that, if he ( 
not divert his maddening thoughts, they might ma 
him ill, weak and miserable, for ever and ev 
• • • 

To him, above all, a simple, practical man, tl 
change of mental attitude was almost unbearab 
What a morbid mind might have contemplated in qui 
meditation flashed upon him as a sudden terror. Ncv 
would he have thought that there might be someivhei 
deeply hidden in life, things which were stronger th; 
the power of the human will and intellect. Nowada} 
after the nightmare which he had so courageous 
defeated, it seemed to him that the nightmare hi 
nevertheless sapped his strength and inoculated hi 
with every sort of weakness. It was incredible, h 
now, as he sat working in the evening, he would Hst« 
to the evening voices in the garden, or to the rap 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 255 

;tle overhead. And then he would suddenly get up, 
to Léonie's room and look under the bed. When he 
last discovered that many of the anon)rmous letters 
which he was persecuted came from the pen of a 
f -cast e who described himself as his son and was 
in known by his own surname in the compoimd, he 
t too undoubtful to investigate the matter, because of 
at might come to light that he had himself forgotten, 
ing from his controUership, from the old days, at 
:adjiwa. He was doubtful now as to things of 
ich he had once been certain and positive. Nowa- 
ys he was no longer able to order his recollections of 
t period so positively that he would swear that he 
i not a son, begotten almost unconsciously in those 
^s. He did not clearly remember the housekeeper 

had looked after him before his first marriage, 
d he preferred to let the whole business of the 
)nymous letters smoulder in the dusky shadows, 
her than stir it up and enquire into it. He even 
ised money to be sent to the native who called him- 
F his son, so that the fellow might not abuse the name 
ich he arrogated to himself and demand presents all 
T the compound: chickens and rice and clothes, 
igs which Si-Oudijck exacted from ignorant dessa- 
k, whom he threatened with the vague anger of his 
her, the kandjeng yonder at Labuwangi. In order 
t there might be no more threats of this anger, Van 
dijck sent him money. It was weak of him: he 
uld never have done it in the old days. But now he 

1 an inclination to hush things up, to gloss over 
igs, to be less stern and severe and rather to mitigate 
'thing unduly strict by hal f -measures. Eldersma 
s sometimes amazed when he saw the resident, who 




256 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

used to be so firm, hesitating, when he saw him yieldine 
in matters of business, in differences with crown 
tenants, as he had never done before. And slack 
methods of work would have found their way in the of- 
fice, automatically, if Eldersma had not taken the work 
out of Van Oudijck's hands and given himself even 
more to do than he already had. It was generally 
stated that the resident was ill. And, in point of fact 
his skin was yellow; his liver was painful; the least 
thing set his nerves quivering. It unsettled the house, 
in conjunction with Doddie's tempers and outbursts and 
Theo's jealousy and hatred, for Theo was at home 
again, had already thrown up Surabaya. Léonie alone 
continued her triumphant career, ever beautiful, white, 
calm smiling, contented, happy in the lasting passion of 
Addie, whom she knew how to hold, amorous expert 
love's sorceress that she was. Fate had warned her 
and she kept Theo at a distance ; but, for the rest, she 
was happy and contented. 

Then suddenly Batavia fell vacant The names of 
tw(3 or three residents were mentioned, but Van 
Oudi jck had possescd the best chance. And he worried 
about it, was afraid of it: he did not care for Batavia, 
as a residency. He would not have been able to work 
in Batavia as lie worked here, at Labuwangi, zealouslr 
and devotedly fostering so many different interests con- 
nected with agriculture and the people. He wouM 
rather have been appointed to Surabaya, where there 
was plenty going on ; or to one of the Vorstenlanden. 
where his tact in dealing with the native princes vroiiM 
have been turned to good purpose. But Batavia! It 
was the least interesting of all districts for a resident 
from the point of view of an official, and, what with 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 257 

the arrogant atmospHere of the place, the least flatter- 
ing to one in the position of resident, in close contact 
with the governor-general, surrounded by the highest 
officials, so that the resident, who was almost supreme 
anywhere else, was at Batavia no more than yet another 
high official among so many members of Council and 
directors. And it was much too near Buitcnzorg, with 
its arbitrary secretariat, whose bureaucratic and red- 
tape methods were always clashing with the practical 
administrative methods of the residents themselves. 

The prospect of being appointed unsettled him en- 
tirely, harrassed him more than ever, with the thought 
of leaving Labuwangi in a month's time, of selling up 
his furniture. It would break his heart to leave Labu- 
wangi. In spite of all that he had gone through there, 
he loved the town and especially his district. During 
all those years, he had left traces of activity through- 
out his district, traces of his devoted labour, of his 
ambition, of his affection. And now, within a month, 
he would probably have to transfer all this to a suc- 
cessor, to tear himself away from everything that he 
had so lovingly cherished and fostered. It filled him 
with a sombre melancholy. He cared not a straw for 
the fact that the promotion also brought him nearer to 
his pension. That unoccupied future, with the bore- 
dom of approaching old age, was a very nightmare to 
him. And his successor would perhaps make all man- 
ner of changes, would disagree at every single point. 

In the end, the chance of his promotion became such 
a morbid obsession with him that the improbable thing 
happened and he wrote to the director of the B.B. and 
to the governor-general, begging to be left at Labu- 
wangi. The secret of these letters was pretty well 



258 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

kept: he himself concealed them entirely, both from 
his family and from his officials, so that, when a 
younger, second-class resident was appointed Resident 
i)f Batavia, people said tliat Van Oudijck had been 
passed over, hut not that this had happened at his o^ti 
request. And, in seeking the cause, they raked up all 
the old gossip about the dismissal of the Regent of \ 
Ngadjiwa and the strange happenings thereafter, but 
without finding in either any particular reason why the 
government should have passed over Van Oudijck. 

He himself recovered a strange sort of peace, a peace 
due to weariness, to laisser-allcr, to becoming rooted in 
his familiar Labuwangi, to not having to be trans- 
ferred, old up-country veteran that he was, to Batavia, I 
where things were so very different. When the 
governor-general, at his last audience, had spoken to 
him about going to Europe on leave, he had felt afraid 
of Europe, afraid of no longer feeling at home there; 
and now he felt afraid even of Batavia. And vet he 
knew all there was to know about the would-be western 
humbug of Batavia; yet he knew that the capital of 
Java only pretended to be exceedingly European and 
in reality was only half-European. In himself — and 
unknown to his wife, who regretted that dispelled il- 
lusion of Batavia — he chuckled silently at the thought 
that he had succeeded in remaining at Labuwangi. 
Rut, while he chuckled, he nevertheless felt changed, 
aged, belittled, felt that he was no longer glancing at 
that upward path — the prospect of constantly winning a 
higher place among his fellow-men — which had always 
l)een his path of life. What had become of his ambi- 
ti(3n? What had happened to decrease his love of 
authority ? He put it all down to the influence of the 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 259 

mate. It would certainly be a good thing to refresh 
; blood and his mind in Europe, to spend a couple of 
nters there. But the idea immediately evaporated, 
ped out by his lack of resolution. No, he did not 
in t to go to Europe ; it was India that he loved. And 
indulged in long meditations, lying in a long-chair, 
joying his coffee, his light clothing, the gentle relax- 
on of his muscles, the aimless drowsiness of his 
3ughts. The only obvious thing in his drowsy 
)od was his ever-increasing suspicion ; and now and 
ain he would suddenly wake from his languor and 
ten to the vague sounds, the soft suppressed laughter 
lich he seemed to hear in Leonie's room, even as at 
2fht when, suspicious of ghosts, he listened to the 
jfflcd sounds in the garden and to the rat scurrying 
erhead. 




CHAPTER XXX 

Addie was sitting with Mrs. van Does, in the little 
back-verandah, when they heard a carriage rattle up in 
front of the house. They smiled at each other and rose 
from their seats: 

"I shall leave you to yourselves," said Mrs. van Docs. 

And she disappeared, to drive round the town in a 
dos-d'dos^ and do business among her friends. 

Leonie entered: 

"Where is Mrs. van Does ?** she asked, for she always 
behaved as though it were the first time. 

It was her great charm. He knew this and answered: 

"She has just gone out. She will be sorry to have 
missed you." 

He spoke like this because he knew that she liked it: 
the ceremonial opening each time, to preserve above 
all things the freshness of their liaison. 

They now sat down in the little dosed middle gal- 
lery, side by side on a settee. 

The settee was covered with a cretonne dis(daying 
many-coloured flowers ; on the white walls were a few 
cheap fans and kakemonos; and on either side of a 
Jittle looking-glass stood a console-table with ^n imi- 
tation bronze statue, two nondescript knightSt «^ 
with one leg advanced and a spear in his hand. 
Through the glass door the musty little back-verandah 
showed, with its damp, yellow-green pillars, its flower- 
pots, also yellow-green, with a few withered rose-trees: 
and behind this was the damp, neglected little garden. 

* Dog-cart 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 261 

with a couple of lean coco-palms, hanging their leaves 
like broken feathers. 

He now took her in his arms and drew her to him, 
but she pushed him away gently: 

"Doddie is becoming imbearable,*' she said. "Some- 
thing must be done." 

''How so?" 

"She must leave the house. She is so irritable that 
there's no living with her." 

"You tease her, you know." 

She shrugged her shoulders, put out by a recent 
scene with her step-daughter: 

"I never used to tease her. She was fond of me and 
we got on all right together. Now she flies out at the 
least thing. It's your fault. Those everlasting eve- 
ning walks, which lead to nothing, upset her nerves." 

"Perhaps it's just as well that they lead to nothing," 
he murmured, with his little laugh, the laugh of the 
tempter. "But I can't break with her, you know: it 
would make her unhappy. And I can't bear to make a 
woman unhappy." 

She laughed scornfully: 

"Yes, you're so good-natured. From sheer good- 
nature you would scatter your favours broadcast. 
Anvwav, she'll have to go." 

"Go? Whereto?" 

"Don't ask such silly questions!" she exclaimed, 
angrily, roused out of her usual indifference. "She'll 
have to go, somewhere or other, I don't care where. 
You know, when I say a thing, it's done. And this is 
E^oing to be done." 

He was now clasping her in his arms: 

"You're so angry. You're not a bit pretty like that." 




tf 

ii» 



262 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

In her temper, she at first refused to let him kiss her; 
but, as he did not hke these tempers and was well aware 
of the irresistible power of his comely Moorish 
virility, he mastered her with rough, smiling violence 
and held her so tight to him that she was unable to stir: 
You mustn't be angry any longer." 
Yes, I will. I hate Doddie." 
The poor girl has done you no harm." 

"Possibly." 

"On the contrary, it's you who tease her." 

"Yes, because I hate her." 

"Why ? Surely you're not jealous !" 

She laughed aloud : I 

"No! That's not one of my feelings." 

"Then why?" 

"What does it matter to you ? I myself don't know. 
I hate her. I love tormenting her." 

"Are you as wicked as you are beautiful ?" 

"What does wicked mean? I don't know or care! 
I should like to torment you too, if I only knew how." 

"And I should like to give you a good smacking." 

She again gave a shrill laugh: 

"Perhaps it would do me good," she admitted. *1 
scklom lose my temper, but Doddie , . . !" 

Slie contracted lier fingers and, suddenly calming 
down, nestled against him and locked her arms about 
his body: 

I used to be very indifferent," she confessed. 
Latterly I have been much more easily upset, after I 
had that fright in the bathroom . . . after they 
spat at me so, with slrih. Do you believe it was ghosts? 
T don't. It was some practical joke of the regent's. 
Those beastly Javanese know all sorts of things. 







THE HIDDEN FORCE 263 

But since then, I have, so to speak, lost my bear- 
ings. Do you understand that expression? ... It 
used to be delightful : I would let everything run off me 
like water off a duck's back. But, after being so ill, I 
seem to have changed, to be more nervous. Theo one 
day, when he was angry with me, said that I've been 
hysterical since then . . . and I never used to be. 
I don't know: perhaps he's right. But I'm certainly 
changed. ... I don't care so much what people 
think or say; I think I'm growing quite shameless. 
They're gossiping too more spitefully than 
they used to. . . . Van Oudijck irritates me, pry- 
ing about as he does. He's beginning to notice some- 
thing. . . . AndDoddie! Doddie! . . . Fm 
not jealous, but I can't stand her evening walks with 
j'ou. . . . You must give it up, do you hear, walk- 
ing with her. I won't have it, I won't have it . . . 
And then everything bores me in this place, at Labu- 
wangi. What a wretched, monotonous life! . . . 
Surabaya's a bore too. . . . So's Batavia. . . . 
It's all so dull and stodg}': people never think of 
anything new. ... I should like to go to Paris. 
I believe I have it in me to enjoy Paris thoroughly. 



>» 



'*Do I bore you too?' 

''You ?" 

She stroked his face with her two hands and passed 
them over his chest and down his thighs. 

'Til tell you what I think of you. You're a pretty 
l)oy. but you're too good-natured. That irritates me 
too. You kiss everybody who wants you to kiss them. 
At Patjaram, you are always pawing everybody, in- 




264 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

eluding your old mother and your sisters. I think ir's 
horrid of you !" 

He laughed: 

"Your growing jealous !" he exclaimed. 

"Jealous? Am I really getting jealous? How 
horrid if I am ! I don't know: I don't think I am, aD 
the same. I don't want to be. After all, I believe 
there's something that will always protect me." 

"A devil. . . r 

"Possibly. Un bon diable." 

"Are you taking to speaking French ?" 

"Yes. With a view to Paris. . . . There's 
something that protects me. I firmly believe that life I 
can do me no injury, that nothing can touch me." 

"You're becoming superstitious." 

"Oh, I was always that ! Perhaps I've become more 
so. . . . Tell me, have I changed, lately ?" 

"YouVe touchier." 

"Not so indifferent as I was?" 

"You're gaver, more amusing." 

"Used I to be a bore?" 

"You were a little quiet. You were always beauti- 
ful, exquisite, divine . . . but rather quiet." 

"Perhaps it was because I minded p>eople more 
then." 

"Don't vou now ?" 

"No, not now. They gossip just the same. . . . 
But tell me, haven't I changed more than that?" 

"^"es, you have: you're more jealous, more super- 
stitious, more touchv. . . . What more do voo 
want?" 

Thysically: haven't I changed physically?" 



^No.^ 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 265 

"Haven't I grown older? . . . Am I not get- 
ting wrinkled ?" 

"You? Never!" 

"Listen. I believe I have still quite a future before 
me, something very different. . . ." 

"In Paris?" 

"Perhaps. . . . Tell me, am I not too old ?" 

"What for?" 

"For Paris. . . . How old do you think I am ?" 

"Twenty-five." 

"You're fibbing. You know perfectly well that I'm 
Jiirty-two. Do Hook thirty-two?" 

"Rather not !" 

"Tell me, don't you think India a horrible country? 

. . Have you never been to Europe ?" 

"No." 

"I was there from ten to fifteen . . . properly 
peaking, you're a brown sinjo and I a white nonna. 



>» 

»» 



"I love my country.' 

"Yes, because you think yourself a bit of a Solo' 
>rince. . . . That's your Patjaram absurdity. . 

. As for-me, I hate India, I loathe Labuwangi. I 
^vant to get away. I want to go to Paris. . . . 
Will vou come too?" 

"No. I should never want to go. . . ." 

"Not even when you reflect that there are hundreds 
of women in Europe whom you have never loved?" 

He looked at her: something in her words, in her 
voice, made him glance up; a crazy hysteria, which had 
never struck him in the old days, when she had always 
yccn the silently passionate mistress, with half-dosed 
?\es, who always wanted to forget everything at once 




266 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

and become conventional once more. Something b 
her repelled him. He loved the soft, pliant surrender 
of her caresses, the smiling indolence which she nscj 
to display, but not these hal f -mad eyes and this purple 
mouth, wliich seemed ready to bite. She seemed to 
feel it, for she suddenly pushed him from her and said» 
brusquely : 

*' You bore me. ... I know all there is to knot 
in you. . . . Go away. . . ." 

But this he would not do. He did not care for futile 
rcndcS'Vous and he now embraced her and solidted 
her. . . . 

"No," she said, curtly. "You bore me. Every one 
bores me here. Everything bores me." I 

He, on his knees, put his hands about her waist and 
drew her to him. She smiling a little, became sligfatb 
more yielding, rumpling his hair nervously with hff 
hand. A carriage pulled up in front of the house. 

"Hark !" she said. 

"It's Mrs. van Does." \ 

"How soon she's back !" 

"I expect she's sold nothing." 

"Then it'll cost vou a tientje."^ 

"I dare say." 

"Do you pay her much ? For allowing us to meetr \ 

"Oh, what does it matter?" 

"Listen," she said again, more attentively. 

"That's not Mrs. van Does." 

"No." I 

"It's a man's footstep. ... It wasn't a dos-ir 
dos either: it was much too noisy." 

* Ten-guilder note. 



1 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 267 



"I expect It's nothing," said she. "Some one who 
las mistaken the house. Nobody ever comes here." 
J **The man's going round/' he said, listening. 

They both listened for a moment. And then, sud- 
Icnly, after two or three strides through the cramped 
ittle garden and along the little back-verandah, Jiis 
igure, Van Oudi jck's appeared outside the closed glass 
[oor, visible through the curtain. And he had pulled it 
»pen before Leonie and Addie could change their 
osition, so that Van Oudijck saw them both, her sit- 
ing on the couch and him kneeling before her, while 
er hand still lay, as though forgotten, on his hair. 

"Leonie !" roared her husband. 

Her blood under the shock of the surprise broke into 
tormy waves and seethed through her veins; and in 
ne second she saw the whole future: his anger, the 
-ial, the divorce, the money which her husband would 
How her, all in one whirling vision. But, as though 
y the compulsion of her nervous will, the tide of blood 
rithin her at once subsided and grew calm; and she 
emained quietly sitting there, her terror showing for 
ut one moment longer in her eyes, until she could turn 
hem hard as steel upon Van Oudijck. And, by press- 
tig her finger softly on Addie's head, she suggested to 
urn also to remain in the same attitude, to remain 
rneeliiif^ at her feet, and she said, as though self-hypno- 
ized, listening in astonishment to her own slightly 
lusky voice: 

"Otto . . . Adrien de Luce is asking me to put 
1 a word with you for him. ... He is asking 
for Doddie's hand. 

They all three remained motionless, all three under 
le influence of these words, of this thought which had 



268 THE HIDDEN FORCE ' 

I 
come . . . whence Léonie herself did not knoi "Hi 
For sitting rigid and erect as a sibyl and still with th '* Ai 
gentle pressure on Addie's head, she repeated: "H< 

"He is asking . . . for Doddie's hand. . . ." Mrs. 

She was still the only one to speak. And she o» asked 
tinued: 

'*He knows that you have certain objections ft 
knows that you do not care for his family . . 
because they have Javanese blood in their arteries. 

She was still speaking as though some one dse 
speaking inside her ; and she had to smile at that worf 
arteries, she did not know why: perhaps because it 
the first time in her life that she had used the 
arteries, for veins, in conversation. 

"But," she went on, ''there are no financial d 
backs, if Doddie likes to live at Patjaram. . 
And the children have been fond of each other . 
so long." 

She alone was speaking still: 

"Doddie has so long been overstrung, almost I 
. . . It would be a crime. Otto, not to consent" 

Gradually her voice became more musical andlk 
smile formed about her lips ; but the light in her tfi 
was still hard as steel, as though she were threatcoiiC 
Van Oudijck with her anger if he refused to bA< 
her. 

"Come." she said, very gently, very kindly, pattflf 
Addie's head softly with her trembling fingers %*! said 
up . . . Addie and go to • . 'I '* 

papa." I han 

He rose, mechanically. | j\ 

"Léonie, what were you doing here?" asked Vi 
Oudijck, hoarsely. I "O* 




one 

in 1 

• 

harv 

as I 

1 

na.n 
opp 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 269 



44' 



'Here ? I was with Mrs. van Does." 
'And he?" pointing to Addie. 
'He ? . . . He happened to be calling. . . . 
^rs. van Does had to go out. . . . Then he 
sked leave to speak to me. . . . And then he 
.sked me . . . for Doddie's hand. . . ." 

They were again all three silent. 

"And you, Otto?" she now asked, more harshly. 
'What brought you here?" 

He looked at her sharply. 

*'Is there anything you want to buy of Mrs. van 
Does?" she asked. 

'*Theo told me you were here. . . ." 

*'Theo was right. . . ." 

"Leonie. . . ." 

She rose and, with her eyes hard as steel, she 
intimated to him that he must believe her, that she 
insisted on his believing her: 

"In any case, Otto," she said; and her manner was 
once more gently kind, "do not leave Addie any longer 
in his uncertainty. And you, Addie, don't be afraid 

. . and ask papa for Doddie's hand. ... I 
have nothing to say where Doddie is concerned . . . 
as I have often told you." 

Tfiey now all three stood facing one another, in the 
narrow middle gallery; breathing with difficulty, 
oppressed by their accumulated emotions. Then Addie 
said : 

"Resident, I ask you . . . for your daughter's 
hand." 

A dos'è'dos pulled up at the front of the house. 

"That's Mrs. van Does," said Leonie, hurriedly. 
''Otto, say something before she comes. . . ." 




270 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

"I consent/' said Van Oudijck, gloomily. 

He made off at the back before Mrs. van 
entered and did not see the hand which Addie heli 
to him. Mrs. van Does came in trembling, foil 
by a babti carrying her bundle, her merchandise, 
saw Leonie and Addie standing stiff and hypnot 

"That was the residents chariot!" stammerec 
Indian lady, pale in the face. "Was it the resic 

"Yes," said Leonie, calmly. 

^'Astaga!^ And what happened ?" 

"Nothing," said Leonie, laughing. 

"Nothing?" 

"Or rather, something did happen." 

"What?" 

"Addie and Doddie are . . /' 

"What ?" 

"Engaged !" 

And she shrieked the words with a shrill outbu: 
uncontrollable mirth at the comedy of life, and 
Mrs. van Does, who stood with eyes starting out < 
head, and spun her round and kicked the bundle c 
the bahn's hands, so that a parcel of batik bedsp 
and table-slips fell to the ground and a little jai 
full of glittering crystals rolled away and broke. 

''Astaga! . . . My brilliants T 

One more kick of frolicsome wantonness; an 
table-slips flew to left and right and the diamonc 
gh'ttering, scattered among the legs of the tablei 
chairs. Addie, his eyes still filled with terror, en 
af)out on his hands and feet, raking them togethi 

Mrs. van Does repeated: 

'JEnga^ed !" 

'"Heavens ! Oh dear !" 




CHAPTER XXXI 

Doddie was rapt into the seventh heaven of delight 
when Van Oudijck told her that Addie had asked her 
hand in marriage: and, when she heard that manuna 
had been her advocate, she embraced Léonie boister- 
ously, with the emotional spontaneity of her tempera- 
ment, once more surrendering to the attraction which 
Léonie had exercised upon her for years. Doddie now 
at once forgot everything that had annoyed her in the 
excessive intimacy between mamma and Addie, when 
he used to hang over her chair and whisper to her. She 
had never believed what she had heard now and again, 
because Addie had always assured her that it was not 
true. And she was ever so happy that she was going to 
live with Addie, he and she together, at Patjaram. For 
Patjaram was her ideal of what a home should be. 
The big house, full of sons and daughters and children 
and animals, on all of whom the same kindness and 
cordiality and boredom was lavished, while behind 
those sons and daughters shone the halo of their Solo 
descent : the big house built on to the sugar factory was 
to her the ideal residence ; and she felt akin with all its 
little traditions: the sambal, crushed and ground by a 
babti squatting behind her chair, while she sat at lunch, 
represented to her the supreme indulgence of the 
palate ; the races at Ngad jiwa, attended by the leisurely 
Jlcngang4cngang^ procession of all those women, with 
the babtts behind them, carrying the handkerchief, the 

^Thc swaying of the arms in walking: the typical gait of the 
native women. 




272 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

scent-bottle, the opera-glasses, were her ne plus vitn 
of elegance; she loved the old Dowager Raden-Ajo: 
and she had given herself to Addie, entirely, withoö 
reserve, from the first moment of seeing him, when she 
was a little girl of thirteen and he a boy of eighteei 
It was because of him that she had always resisted with 
all her energy when papa wanted to send her to Europe, 
to boarding-school in Brussels ; because of him she had 
never cared for any place except Labuwangi, Ngadjiv» 
or Pat jaram ; because of him she was prepared to five 
and die at Patjaram. 

It was because of him that she had felt all her littk 
jealousies, when her girl-friends told her that he was 
in love with this one or carrying on with that one: 
because of him she would always know those jealousies 
great and small, her whole life long. He would be her 
life, Patjaram her world, sugar her interest, because it 
was Addie's interest. Because of him she would lonj 
for many children, very many children, who would be 
really brown not white, like papa and mamma and 
Theo, but brown, because her own mother was brown; 
and she herself was a delicate brown, while Addie was 
a beautiful bronze colour, a Moorish brown, and, after 
the example set at Patjaram, her children, her numer- 
ous children, would be brought up in the shadow of the 
factory, in an atmosphere of sugar, with a view to their 
planting the fields, when they grew up, and milling the 
sugar-cane and restoring the fortunes of the family to 
their former brilliancy. And she was as happy as a 
girl in love could imagine herself to be, seeing* her ideal 
Addie and Patjaram, so closely attainable, and not 
for a second realizing how her happiness had come 
about, through the word which Leonie, almost uncoo- 



i 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 273 

iously, had uttered, as though by autosuggestion, at 
^ supreme moment. Oh, now she need no longer 
^k the dark comers, the dark sawahs with Addie; 
^w she was constantly kissing him in broad daylight, 
^ning radiantly against him, feeling his warm, virile 
><iy which was hers and would soon be hers entirely ; 
>w her eyes yearned up to him, for all to see, for she 
:> longer had the maidenly power of hiding her feel- 
tgs from others; now he was hers, hers, hers! 

And he, with the good-natured surrender of a young 
ultan, suffered her to caress his shoulders and knees, 
uffered her to kiss him and stroke his hair, suffered 
ler arm around his neck, accepting it all as a tribute 
!ue to him, accustomed as he was to that women's 
ribute of love, he who had fondled and caressed from 
le time when he was a little, chubby boy, from the time 
'hen he was carried by Tidjem, his habu, who was in 
►ve with him, from the time when he used to romp in 

fjclmiamonict^ with little sisters and cousins, all of 
hem were in love with him. All this tribute he 
:cepted good-naturely, though secretly surprised and 
locked by what Leonie had done. . . . And 
et, he argued, it would perhaps have happened some 
ay anyhow of itself, because Doddie was so fond of 
im. He would rather have remained unmarried: 
liough unmarried, he nevertheless had all the home life 
X Pat jaram that he wanted and retained his liberty to 
«stow abundant love upon women, in his good-natured 
iray. And he was already ingenuously reflecting that it 
vould not do, that it would never do to remain faithful 
o Doddie long, because he was really too good-natured 
nd the women were all so crazy. Doddie must get 

^ ChHd's suit of pyjamas, laced tn at the wrists and ankles. 




274 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

used to it later on, must learn to accept it; and, a 
reflected, after all, in Solo, in the Kraion^ it wasB 
same thing, with his uncles and cousins. . . . 

Had Van Oudijck believed what Léonie said? B 
himself did not know whether he did or not. Dodi 
had accused Léonie of being in love with Addie;Tb» 
that morning when Van Oudijck asked him vhfli 
Ironie was, had answered, curtly: 

"At Mrs. van Does' . . . with Addic." 

He luid glared at his son, but asked no furdx 
c|uestions; he had merely driven straight to Mrs.n 
Does' house. And he had actually found his wife "A 
young De Luce, found him on his knees before te 
but she had said so quietly: 

"Adrian de Luce is asking me for your daughter 
hand." 

No, he himself did not know whether he believed!» 
or not. His wife had answered so quietly; andnc 
during the first few days of the engagement, she % 
so calm, smiling just as usual. . . . He now f 
the first time saw that strange side of her, that invuto 
ability, as though nothing could harm her. Did 
suspect, behind this wall of invulnerability the iron» 
feminine secrecy of her silently smouldering inner lü 
It was as though, with his recent nervous suspci 
with his restless mood, in the rankness of superstiti 
that led him to pry and listen to the haunting silet 
he had learnt to see around him things to whidi 
had been blind in his burly strength as a ruler J 
higli and mighty chief official. And his longing 
make certain of the mysteries at which he guc5 
IxKrame so violent in his morbid irritability that 

* Fortified palace. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 275 

w more pleasant and kinder to his son, though 
; time it rose not from the spontaneous paternal 
iction which, when, all was said, he had always felt 
Theo, but from curiosity, to hear all that he had to 
, to make Theo speak out. And Theo, who hated 
>nie, who hated his father, who hated Addie, who 
id Doddie, in his general hatred of all those about 
, who hated life with the stubborn ideas of a fair- 
ed sinjo, longing for money and beautiful women, 
ry because the world, life, riches, happiness — as he 
ured it to himself in his petty fashic«i— did not 
le rushing to him, falling into his arms, falling on 
neck: Theo was willing enough to squeeze out his 
ds drop by drop, like gall and wormwood, silently 
lling in the sight of his father's suffering. And he 
wed Van Oudijck to divine, very gradually, that it 
true, after all, about mamma and Addie. 
1 the intimacy that sprang up between the father 
son out of suspicion and hatred, Theo spoke of his 
her in the compound, said that he knew papa sent 
money and therefore acknowledged that the thing 
true. And Van Oudijck, no longer certain, no 
er knowing the truth, admitted that it might be so, 
itted that it was so. Then, remembering the 
lymous letters — which had only lately ceased, since 
lad been sending money to that half-caste who 
ured to assume his name — he also remembered the 
s which he had often read in them and which, at 
ime, he had always cast from him as so much filth ; 
*membered the two names, those of his wife and of 
3 himself, which had so constantly been coupled in 
1. His distrust and suspicion blazed up like flames, 
a now inextinguishable fire, which scorched every 




276 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

other thought or feeling . . . until at last h 
no longer able to restrain himself and spoke roun 
Theo cm the subject. He did not trust Thco's 
nation and denial. And he now trusted nothini 
nobody, he distrusted his wife and his children ai 
officials ; he distrusted his cook. . • • 




CHAPTER XXXII 

fcen, like a clap of thunder, the rumour ran through 
Eibuwangi that Van Oudijck and his wife were going 
► be divorced. Leonie went to Europe, very suddenly, 
•-ally without any one's knowing why and without 
Icing leave of anybody. And it caused a great scandal 

the little town: people talked of nothing else and 
Iked of it even as far away as Surabaya, as far away 

Batavia. Van Oudijck alone was silent ; and, with 

^5 back a little more bowed, went his way, working on, 

:^ding his ordinary life. He had abandoned his 

ïnciples and assisted Theo to obtain a job, in order 

"be rid of him. He preferred to have Doddie staying 

Patjaram, where the De Luce women would help 
' 'T with her trousseau. He preferred Doddie to get 
^^rried quickly and to get married at Patjaram. In 
^ great, empty house, he now longed for nothing but 
^litude, a spacious, cheerless solitude. He would no 
»riger have the table laid for him : they brought him 
plateful of rice and a cup of coffee in his office. And 
ie felt ill, his zeal lessened; a dull indifference gnawed 
.t his vitals. He delegated all the work, all the district 
o Eldersma; and, when Eldersma, after not sleeping 
'or weeks, half-crazy with ner\'ous strain, told the resi- 
Icnt that the doctor wanted to send him to Europe with 
certificate of urgency, Van Oudijck lost all his 
ouraiT^e. He said that he too felt ill and done for. 
,nd he applied to the governor-general for leave and 
ent to Batavia. He said nothing about it, but he felt 
»rtain that he would never return to Labuwang^. 




278 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

And he went away, quietly, with not a glance at 
he was leaving behind him, at his great field of act 
which he had so lovingly organized. The admini 
tion remained in the hands of the assistant-reside 
Ngadjiwa. It was generally believed that 
Oudijck wished to see the governor-general about 
tain questions of importance, but suddenly the ; 
arrived that he was proposing to retire. It wai 
credited at first, but the report was confirmed. 
Oudijck did not return. 

He had gone, without casting a glance behind 
in a strange indifference, an indifference which 
gradually corroded the very marrow of this o» 
robust and practical man, who had always rem; 
young in his capacity for work. He felt this ind 
ence for Labuwangi, which, when there was a que 
of his promotion to resident of the first class. h< 
thought himself incapable of leaving except witl 
greatest regret; he felt this indifference foi 
domestic circle, which no longer existed. His soul 
filled with a gradual blight; it was withering, d 
It seemed to him that all his powers were meltinj?: 
in the tepid stagnation of this indifference. At Ba 
he vegetated for a while in his hotel ; and it was g 
ally assu?ned that he would go to Europe. 

EldersTiia had already gone, sick almost unto d 
and Eva had been unable to accompany him, witl 
little boy, because she was down with a bad attai 
malarial fever. When she was more or less a 
Icsccnt, she sold up her house, with a view to goi 
P>atavia and staying there for three weeks with fr 
before her boat sailed. She left Labuwangi 
mixed fcelini^fs. She had suffered much there, bu 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 279 

o reflected much ; and she had cherished a deep f eel- 
: for Van Helderen, a pure, radiant feeling such as 
■Jd, she was sure, shine forth only once in a lifetime, 
e took leave of him as of an ordinary friend, in the 
^sence of others, and gave him no more than a 
^sure of the hand. But she felt so profoundly sad 
:ause of that pressure of the hand, that commonplace 
■«well, that the sobs rose in her throat. That eve- 
ig, left to herself, she did not weep, but sat in her 
om at the hotel, staring silently for hours before 
r. Her husband was gone, was ill: she did not 
fcow how he would be when she saw him, whether 
deed she would ever see him again. Europe, it v, as 
ue, after her years in India, stretched its shores 
lilingly before her, held forth the vision of its cities, 
i culture, its art ; but she was afraid of Europe. An 
ispoken fear lest she should have lost ground intel- 
rtually made her almost dread the circle in her 
rents' house, to w^hich she would have returned in a 
3nth's time. She trembled at the thought tbn^ 7 ople 
>uld consider her colonial in her manners and ideas, 
her speech and dress, in the education of her child ; 
d this made her feel shy in anticipation, despite, 
her pose as a smart, artistic woman. Certainly she 
longer played the piano as well as she did: she would 
t dare to play at the Hague. And she thought that it 
ght be a good thing to stay in Paris for a fortnight 
d brush off her cobwebs a bit, before showing her- 
f in the Hague. . . . 

But Eldersma was too ill. . . . And how 
>uld she find him, her husband, so much changed, 
r once robust Frisian husband, now tired out, worn 
it, yellow as parchment, careless of his appearance. 




280 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

muttering gloomily when he spoke? 
gentle vision of a refreshing German landscaj 
Swiss snows, of music at Bayreuth, of art in 
dawned before her staring gaze; and she saw \ 
reunited to her sick husband. No longer united i 
but united under the yoke of life, the yoke whic 
had shouldered together, once and for all. . 
Then there was the education of her child ! Oh, t 
her child, to get him away from India! And > 
Van Helderen, had never been out of India. Bu 
he was himself, he was an exception. • • . 

She had bidden him good-bye. ... She 
make up her mind to forget him. ... E 
was waiting for her . . . and her hu 
. and her child. . 

Two days later, she was at Batavia. She I 
knew the citv ; she had been there once or twice, 
ago. when she first came out At Labuwangi, i 
little, outlying district, Batavia had gradually b 
glorified in her imagination into an essentially 
sian capital, a centre of Eurasian civilization, ; 
vision of stately avenues and squares, surround 
great, wealthy, porticoed villas, thronged with 
carriages and horses. She had always heard so 
about Batavia. 

She was now staying with friends. The hi 
was at tlie head of a big commercial firm ; their 
was one of the handsomest villas on the Koning 
\nfl Fhc had at once been very strangely impres 
tlie funereal character, by the deadly melanch 
tills great town of villas, where thousands of 
lives are waging a silent, feverish battle for a fu' 
moneyed repose. It was as though all those 1 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 281 

f despite their white pillars and their grand 
were frowning like faces careworn with 
;s that sought to hide themselves behind a pre- 
,s display of broad leaves and clustering palms, 
juses, however much exposed, amidst their jnl- 
owever seemingly open, remained closed; the 
nts were never seen. Only in the mornings, as 
rnt on her errands along the shops in Rijswijk 
lolenvliet, which, with a few French names 
them, tried to give the impression of a southern 
ng-centre, of European luxury, Eva would see 
>dus to the Old Town of the white men, white- 
dressed in white; and even their eyes seemed 
ith brooding anxieties, fixed upon a future which 
1 calculated in so many decades or lustres: so 
nade. in this year or that ; and then away, away 
'rom India to Europe. It was as though it were 
ilaria that was undermining them, but another 
and she felt clearly that it was tmdermintng 
unacclimatized constitutions, their souls, as 
they were trying to skip that day and reach the 
row. or the day after, days which brought them 
nearer to their goal, because they secretly feared 
l>efore that goal was attained. The exodus 
he trams with its white burden of mortality, 
already well off, but not yet rich enough for 
urpose. drove in their mylords' and buggies to 
* and there took the tram, to spare their 



in the Old Town, in the oM. artistocratic houses 
first Dutch merchants, still built in the Dutch 




282 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

style, with oak staircases leading to upper floors vA 
now, during the east monsoon, were stagnant vii 
dense, oppressive heat, like a tangible element, wl 
stifled the breath, the white men bent over their w 
constantly beholding between their thirsty glana 
the white desert of their papers the dawning miragi 
the future, the refreshing oasis of their material] 
illusion: within such and such a time, money aodt 
off ... off ..• to Europe. . . 
And, in the city of villas, around the Koning^ 
along the green avenues, the women hid themset 
the women remained unseen, the whole livelong c 
The hot day passed, the time of beneficent cooh 
came, the time from half-past five to seven. Thci 
returned home dog-tired and rested; and the won 
tired with their housekeeping, with their, children 
with nothing at all, with a life of doing nothing, a 
without any interest, tired with the deadliness of tl 
existence, rested beside the men. That hour of be 
cent coolness meant rest, rest after the bath, in undr 
around the tea-table, a short, momentary rest, for 
fearsome hour of seven was at hand, when it was 
ready dark, when one had to go to a reception. A 
ception implied dressing in stuffy European clotl 
implied a brief but dreadful display of Europ 
drawing-room manners and social graces» but it s 
implied meeting this person and that and striving 
achieve yet one advance towards the mirage of 
future: money and ultimate rest in Europe. A 
after the town of villas had lain in the sun all c 
gloomy and wan, like a dead city — ^with the men ai 
in the Old Town and the women hidden in tl 
houses — a few carriages now passed one anotbei 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 283 

Jie dark, round the Koningsplein and along the green 
■.venues» a few European-looking people, going to a 
iption. While, around the Koningsplein and in the 
?n avenues, all the other villas persisted in this 
Funereal desolation and remained filled with gloomy 
iarkness, the house where the party was being given 
dione with lamps among the palm-trees. And for the 
rest the deadliness lingered on every hand, the sombre 
brooding lay over the houses wherein the tired people 
iRrere hiding, the men exhausted with work, the women 
exhausted with doing nothing. 

''Wouldn't you like a drive, Eva?" asked her host- 
ess, Mrs. De Harteman, a little Dutchwoman, white 
as wax and always tired out by her children. "But I'd 
rather not come with you, if you don't mind: I'd 
rather wait for Harteman. Else he'd find nobody at 
home. So you go, with your little boy." 

So Eva, with her little man, went driving in the 
De Hartemans' "chariot." It was the cool hour of the 
day, before darkness set in. She met two or three 
carriages: Mrs. This and Mrs. That, who were known 
to drive in the afternoon. In the Koningsplein she 
saw a lady and gentleman walking: the So-and-Sos; 
they always walked, as all Batavia knew. She met 
no one else. No one. At that beneficent hour, the 
town of villas remained desolate as a city of the dead, 
as a vast mausoleum amid green trees. And yet it was 
a boon, after the overwhelming heat, to see the Kon- 
ingsplein stretching like a gigantic meadow, where the 
parched grass was turning green with the first rains, 
while the houses showed so far away, so very far 
away, in their hedged-in gardens, that it was like being 
in the country, amid woods and fields and pastures. 




284 THE HIDDEN FORCE | 

with the wide sky overhead, from which the lung? nosi 
breathed in air, as though for the first time that day 
breathed in oxygen and life: that wide sky, dispbri:;; 
every dav as it were a varvincr wealtlï of colours, r 
excess (»f sunset fires, a glorious death of the scorch::.: 
day, as though the sun itself were bursting int-» rr- 
rents of gold between the lilac-hued and threatenir,: 
rain-clouds. And it was so spacious and so delightful 
it was such an immense boon that it actually made n; 
for the day. i 

But there was no one to see it except the two o: I 
three people who were known in Batavia to go dririnc j 
or walking. A violet twilight rose ; then the nig?2 
fell with one deep shadow ; and the town, which I 
had l)een deathlike all day, with its frown of brood- 
ing gloom, dropped wearily asleep, like a city c: 
care. . . . 

It used to be different, said old Mrs. De Hanem?.n. 1 
the mother-in-law of Eva's friend. They were gott . 
nowadays, the pleasant houses with their Indian h^ ' 
pitality, their open tables, their sincere and cordial i 
welcomes, as if the colonist's character had in son? , 
sense altered, had in some way been overcast by tht 
vicissitudes of chance, by his disappointment at n-^t 
speedily acliicving his aim, his material aim of weahl. i 
.And, lie being thus embittered, it seemed that hi^ • 
nerves liccame irrital)le. just as his soul became I'ver- j 
cast and Lrlnnmy and his hotly lethargic and unablot: 
widistaiu! tlie destructive climate. 

And I'lva did not find Batavia the ideal citv of 
Eurasian civilization which she had pictured it in the 
Oosthork. In this great nu»ney-grubbing centre, every 
trace of ï-nontatKiiv liad vanished and life became de- 



THE HIDDEN EORCE 285 

^5raded to an everlasting seclusion in the office or at 
7"aome. People never saw each other save at recep- 
^ tions; any other conversatioa took place over the 
telephone. 

^ The abuse of the telephone for domestic purposes 
'flailed all agreeable intimacy among friends. People 
^'no longer saw one another; they no longer had any 
^^iieed to dress and send for the carriage, the "chariot" ; 
""^for they chatted over the telephone, in sarong and 
kabaai, in pyjamas, almost without stirring a limb. 
^The telephone was close at hand and the bell was con- 
^stantly ringing in the back-verandah. People rang 
' 'one another up for nothing, for the mere fun of ring- 
ing up. Young Mrs. De Harteman had an intimate 
friend, a yoimg woman whom she never saw and to 
whom she telephoned daily, for half an hour at a time. 
She sat down to it, so it did not tire her. And she 
laughed and joked with her friend, without having to 
dress and without moving. She did the same with 
other friends; she paid her visits by telephone. She 
did her shopping by telephone. Eva had not been 
accustomed at Labuwangi to this everlasting tinkling 
and ringing up, which killed all conversation and, in 
the back-verandah, revealed one-half of a dialogue — 
the replies being inaudible to any one sitting away from 
the instrument — in the form of an incessant, one-sided 
jabbering. It got on her nerves and drove her to her 
room. And, amid the boredom of this life, full of 
care and inward brooding for the husband and pene- 
trated by the chatter of the wife's telephonic conversa- 
tions, Eva would be surprised suddenly to hear of a 
special excitement: a fancy-fair and the rehearsals of 
an amateur operatic performance. 




286 THE HIDDEN FORCE I 

She herself attended one of these rehearsals duiin;' 
her visit and was astonished by the really first-dti 
execution, as though those musical amateurs had {tf 
the strength of despair into it, to dispel the tedium oi 
the Batavian evenings. For the Italian opera had kit. 
and she had to laugh at the heading "Amusements" ill 
the Javabode^, which amusements as a rule wot 
limited to a choice of three or four meetings of share- 
holders. This too used to be different, said old Mi& 
De Hartcman, who remembered the excellent Fr«n4 
opera of twenty-five years ago, which, it was true, coo 
thousands, but for which the thousands were alwajs 
available. No, people no longer had the money to 
amuse themselves at night. They sometimes gave a 
very expensive dinner, or else went to a meeting d 
shareholders. Eva, in truth, considered Labuwangi i 
much livelier place. True, she herself had largely coo- 
tributed to the liveliness, at the instigation of Van 
Oudi jck, who was glad to make the capital of his dis- 
trict a pleasant, cheerful little town. And she came 
to the conclusion that, after all, she preferred a small 
up-country place, with a few cultured, agreeabk 
European inhabitants — provided that they harmonized 
vath. one another and did not quarrel overmuch in the 
intimacy of their common life — ^to this pretentious, 
pompous, dreary Batavia. The only life was amoii{ 
the military element. Only the officers' houses wen 
lit up in the evening. Apart from this the town laj 
as though moribund, the whole long, hot day, with it 
frown of care, with its invisible population of pe(^ 
looking towards the future: a future of moneyi J 
future perhaps even more of rest, in Europe. 

^ Java Messenger, 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 287 

Jid she longed to get away. Batavia suffocated 

notwithstanding her daily drive round the spa- 

s Koningsplein. She had only one wish left, a 

mcholy wish: to say good-bye to Van Oudijck. 

peculiar temperament, that of a smart^ artistic 

lan, had, very strangely, appreciated and felt the 

ination of his character, that of a simple, prac- 

man. She had perhaps, only for a single moment, 

something for him, deep down within herself, a 

idship which formed a sort of contrast with her 

idship for Van Helderen, an appreciation of his 

human qualities rather than a feeling of Platonic 

munity of souls. She had felt a sympathetic pity 

him in those strange, mysterious days, for the man 

\g alone in his enormous house, with the strange 

^enings creeping in upon him. She had felt in- 

ely sorry for him when his wife, kicking aside her 

ted position, had gone away in an insolent mood, 

ising a storm of scandal, nobody knew exactly 

: his wife, at one time always so correct in her 

eanor, notwithstanding all her depravity, but 

lually devoured by the canker of the strange hap- 

ngs until she was no longer able to restrain her- 

baring the innermost secrets of her profligate 

with cynical indifference. The red betel-slaver, 

as it were by ghosts on her naked body, had 

:ted her like a sickness, had eaten into the marrow 

ler bones, like a disintegration of her soul, of 

:h she might perhaps die, slowly wasting away. 

It people now said of her, of her mode of life in 

s, represented something so unutterably depraved 

it was not to be mentioned above a whisper. 




288 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

Eva heard about it at Batavia, amid the gossip 
the evening-parties. And, when she asked after V; 
Oudijck, where he was staying, whether he woo 
soon be going to Europe, after his unexpected resigii 
tion, a thing that had surprised the whole c&c 
world, they were unable to tell her, they asked o 
another if he was no longer at the Hotel Wisse, wh 
he had been seen only a few weeks ago, lying on 1 
chair in his little verandah, with his legs on the res 
staring fixedly before him without moving a limb. 1 
had hardly gone out at all, taking his meals in I 
room and not at the iable-d'hote, as though he— 1 
man who had always been accustomed to dealing «i 
hundreds of people — ^had become shy of meeting 1 
fellow-creatures. And at last Eva heard that V 
Oudijck was living at Bandong. As she had to f 
some farewell visits, she went to the Preanger. I 
lie was not to be found at Bandong: all that the hot 
proprietor was able to tell her was that Van Oudij 
had stayed a few days at his place, but had since ga 
he did not know whither. 

Then at last, by accident, she heard from a a 
whom she met at dinner that Van CXidi jck was livi 
near Garut. She went to Garut, feeling pleased to 
on his track. The people in the hotel were able 
direct her to where he lived. She could not dcd 
whether she should first write to him and annoui 
her visit. Something seemed to warn her that, if s 
did, he would make some excuse and that she wot 
not see him. And she, now that she was on the poi 
of leaving Java for good, wanted to see him, frc 
motives of mingled affection and curiosity. S 
wished to see for herself how he looked, to get out 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 289 

i why he had so suddenly sent in his resignation 
thrown up his enviable position in life, a position 
:antly seized upon by the next man pushing after 
I, in the great push for promotion. 
>o the next morning, very early, without sending 
I word, she drove away in a carriage belonging to 
hotel. The landlord had explained to the coach- 
1 where he was to go. And she drove a very 
g way, along Lake Lelies, the sombre sacred lake 
h tlie two islands containing the age-<Jd tombs of 
its, while above it hovered, like a dark cloud of 
olation, an ever circling flock of enormous kalongs, 
antic black bats, flapping their demon wings and 
*eching their cry of despair, wheeling rotmd and 
nd incessantly: a black, funereal swirl against the 
nite blue depths of the ether, as though they, the 
nons who had once dreaded light, had triumphed 
I no longer feared the day, because they obscured 
vith the shadow of their sombre flight. And it was 
so oppressive: the sacred lake, the sacred tombs and 
)ve them a horde as of black devils in the deep 
e ether, because it was as though a part of the 
stery of India were being suddenly revealed, no 
ger hiding itself, a vague, impalpable presence, but 
ually visible in the sunlight, rousing dismay with its 
nacing victory. . . . Eva shuddered; and, 
she glanced up timidly, she felt as though the black 
Ititude of screening wings might beat down 
. upon her. . . . But the shadow of 
ith between her and the sim only whirled ditzily 
ind, high above her head, and only uttered its 
ipondent cry of triumph. . . She drove on; 

1 the plain of Lelies lay green and smiling before 




290 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

her. And that second of revelation had already t 
past: there was nothing now but the green and 
luxuriance of the Javanese landscape ; the myster 
already hidden away among the delicate, waving 
boos or merged in the azure ocean of the sky. 

The coachman was driving slowly up a steq 
The liquid satcahs rose in terraces upwards like 
of looking-glass, pale-green with carefully-pl 
blades of paddy; then, suddenly, there came as 
should say an avenue of ferns: gig^antic ferns, w 
their fans on high, with great fabulous butterfliet 
tering around them. And between the diaph; 
foliage of the bamboos there appeared a small 1: 
built half of stone, half of wattled bamboo, 
rounded by a little garden containing a few whit< 
of roses. A very young woman in sarong and ki 
with cheeks gleaming like pale gold and coal- 
ej'es inquisitively peeping, looked out in surprise i 
carriage, which was approaching very slowly, ant 
indoors. Eva alighted and coughed. And she 
denly caught a glimpse of Van Oudijck*s face, pc 
round a screen in the middle gallery. He disapp 
at once. 

"Resident !" she cried, in a coaxing tone. 

But no one appeared and she grew confused. 
dared not sit down and vet she did not want t 
away. But round the corner of the house, oa 
there peeped a little face, tvvo little brown face: 
faces of very young nonna girls, and vanished a 
giggling. Inside the house, Eva heard a greatl 
cited, very nervous whispering: 

"Sidin! Sidin!" she heard somebody call, 
whisper. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 291 

She smiled, took courage and stayed and walked 
Jbout in the little front-verandah. And at last there 
ame an old woman, not perhaps so very old in years, 
Hit old in wrinkled skin and eyes that had grown dim, 
irearing a coloured chintz sabaai and dragging her slip- 
lers: and, beginning with a few words of Dutch and 
hen taking refuge in Malay, smiling politely, she re- 
luested Eva to be seated and said that the resident 
iirould be there at once. She herself sat down, smiled. 
did not know what to talk about, did not know what 
to answer when Eva asked her about the lake, about 
the road. All that she could do was to fetch syrup and 
iced-water and wafers; and she did not talk, but only 
smiled and looked after her visitor. When the young 
Monno-faces peeped roimd the corner, the old woman 
angrily stamped her slippered foot and scolded them 
with a sudden word ; and then they disappeared, gig- 
gling and running away with an audible patter of little 
bare feet. Then the old woman smiled again with her 
eternally smiling, wrinkled face and looked at the 
'ady timidly, as though apologizing. And it was a 
jrery long time before Van Oudijck came at last 

He welcomed Eva effusively, excused himself for 
seeping her waiting. It was obvious that he had 
>haved himself in a hurry and put on a clean white 
5uit. And he was evidently glad to see her. The old 
kvoman departed, with her eternal smile of apology, 
[n that first cheerful moment. Van Oudijck seemed to 
Eva exactly the same as usual; but, when he had 
•aimed down and taken a chair and asked her whether 
Oie had heard from Eldersma and when she herself 
yvas jCfoing to Europe, she saw that he had grown older, 
an old man. It did not show in his figure, which, in 




292 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

his well-starched white suit, still preserved its bra 
soldierly air, a sturdy build, with only the back a Hi 
more bowed, as though under a burden. But it sho\ 
in his face, in the dull, uninterested glance, in 
deep furrows of the careworn forehead, in the col 
of his skin, which was dry and yellow, while the Ü 
moustache, about which the jovial smile still flickc 
at interv^als, was quite grey. His hands shook m 
ously. And he listened without interrupting while 
toUl him what people had said at Labuwangi, bet 
ing a lingering curiosity about the people yonder, a1 
the district of which he had once been so fond. 
discussed it all vaguely, glossing over things, put 
the best face on them and, above all, saying nothin 
the gossip: that he had taken French leave, that he 
run away, nobody quite knew why. 

"And you, resident," she asked, "are you goin 
Euroi)e too?" 

He stared in front of him and gave a painful k 
before replying. And at last he said, almost shyly 

"No, mevrouwtje. I don't think Til go home. 
sec. I've been somebody out here in India: I'd be 
l)0(ly over there. Tm nobody now, I know; but 
I feci that India has become my country. It has 
tlic upper hand of me ; and I belong to it now. 
Ioniser belong to Holland, and I have nothing and 
l)0(ly in Holland that belongs to me. I'm finished 
true; but still I'd rather drag out my existence 
llian there. In Holland I should certainlv no 
able to stand the climate ... or tlie pe 
1 [ere the climate suits me; and I have withdrawn i 
society. I have helped Theo for the last time; 
Doddie is married. And the two boys are goin 
Europe, to school. . . ." 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 293 

He suddenly bent toward her and, in a changed 
oice, he almost whispered, as though about to make 

confession: 

"You see, if everything had gone normally, then 
. then I should not have acted as I did. I 
ave always been a practical man and I was proud of 
: and proud of living the normal life, my own life, 
irhich I lived in accordance with principles that I 
bought were right, until I reached a high place among 
ny fellow-men. I have always been like that and 
falngs went well like that. Everything went swim- 
ningly with me. When others were worrying about 
heir promotion, I went over the heads of five men at 
L jump. It was all plain sailing for me, at least in 
ny official career. I have not been lucky in my domes- 
ic life, but I should never have been weak enough to 
ireak down with grief on the road because of that. A 
nan has so much outside his domestic life. And yet I 
vas always very fond of my family-circle. I don't 
hink it was my fault that everything went as it did. 

loved my wife, I loved my cliildren, I loved my home, 
tiy home surroundings, in which I was the husband, 
jid father. But that feeling in me was never fully 
atisfied. My first wife was a nonna whom I married 
«cause I was in love with her. Because she could not 
;et the upper hand of me with her whim-whams, things 
•ecanie impossible after a few years. I was perhaps 
ven more in love with my second wife than with 
ny first: I am simply constituted in those matters. 
Jut I was never allowed to have a pleasant home 
ircle, a pleasant, kindly wife, children climbing on 
our knees .ind growing up into men and women who 
we tlieir lives to you, their existence, in short, every- 




294 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

thing that they have and possess. That is wh; 
should have liked to have. But, as I say, thou{ 
did not get it, that would never have pulled me ud 
• • • 

He was silent for a moment and then continue 
an even more mysterious whisper: 

"But that, you see, the thing that happened . 
I never understood ; that it's that which brought m 
where I am. That ... all that . . 
which clashed and interfered with my practical, lo| 
ideas of life ... all that" — he struck the t 
with his fist — "damned nonsense, which . . 
which happened all the same . . . that did 
trick. I did not shirk the fight, but my strength uva 
use to me. It was something against which notl 
availed. ... I know: it was the regent. W 
I threatened him it stopped. . . . But, my ( 
mevrouwtje, tell me, what was it? Do you kn 
No, you don't, do you? Nobody knew and not 
knows. Those terrible nights, those inexplic 
noises over head, that night in the bathroom with 
major and the other officers ! It wasn't any hallvK 
tion: we saw it, we heard it, we felt it, it spat ati 
covered us from head to foot ; the whole bathroom 
full of it ! It is easy for other people, who dkin'i 
pcrience it, to deny it. But I . • . and a 
us ... we saw it, heard it and felt it f An 
none of us knew who it was. . . . And 
then T have never ceased to feel it. It was all ar 
mc, in the air, under my feet. . . . You 
he whispered, very softly, "that — and that alone- 
it. That made it impossible for me to stay there. 
caused me to be struck stupid, to become a soi 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 295 

iot in the midst of my normal life, in the midst of my 
"actical good sense and logic, which suddenly ap- 
;ared to me in the light of an ill-constructed theory 
^life, of the most abstract speculation, because, right 
■rough it, things were happening that belonged to an- 
licr world, things that escaped me and everybody 
se. That, that alone, did it ! I was no longer my- 
If . I no longer knew what I was thinking, what I 
^s doing, what I had done. Everything in me was 
ttering. That ruffian in the compound is no child of 
ine: Til stake my life on it. And I ... I be- 
■^ed it. I sent him money. Tell me, do you under- 
•jid me? I don't suppose you do. It's not to be 
tderstood, that strange, unnatural business, if you 
-^en't experienced it, in your flesh and in your blood, 
I it finds its way into your marrow. . . ." 

"'l do believe that I experienced it too, once in a 
ay," she whispered. "When I was walking with 
Eui Helderen by the sea . . . and the sky so 
IT and the night so deep ... or the rains 
Line rustling towards us from so very far away and 
len fell ... or when the nights, silent as 
eath and yet brimful of sounds, quivered about one, 
Iways with a music which one could not catch and 
ould scarcely hear. ... Or simply when I 
X)ked into the eyes of a Javanese, when I spoke to my 
abu and it seemed as though nothing of what I said 
cached her mind and as though what she answered 
Dficealed her real, secret answer. . . ." 

"That, again, is another thing," he said. "I can't 
nderstand that: as far as I was concerned, I knew 
ly native through and through. But possibly every 
;uropcan feels it in a different way, according to his 




296 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

nature and his temperament To one it is perhaps 
dislike which he begins by feeling for the country i 
attacks him in the weak point of his materialism 
continues to oppose him . . . whereas 
country itself is so full of poetry and I would alii 
say mysticism. To another it is the climate, or 
character of the native, or what you will, tha 
antagonistic and incomprehensible. To me . . 
it was the facts which I could not understand, i 
until then I had always been able to understand a 
. at least, I thought so. Now it appearo 
me as though I no longer understood an)lb 
. In this way I became an incompetent off 
and then I realized that it was all over. And 
I quietly resigned my job. And now I'm here 
here I mean to stay. And do you know the stn 
part of it ? Perhaps I have at last . . . f ( 
my family-circle here. . . /' 

The little brown faces were peeping round Ac 
ner. And he called to them, beckoned to them kii 
with a broad fatherly gesture. But they patt 
away again, audibly, on their bare feet. He laug! 

"They're very timid, the little monkeys," he i 
'Tt's Lena's little sisters; and the woman you 
just now is her mother." 

He was silent for a second, quite simply, as the 
she was bound to understand w^ho Lena was: the 
young woman, with the golden bloon: on her ch 
and the coal-black eyes, of whom she had caug 
fleeting glimpse. 

"And then there arc some little brothers, who { 
school in Garut/ Well, you see, that's my doff 
circle. When I came to know Lena, I adopts 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 297 

>le family. I admit it costs me a lot of money, for 
ave my first wife at Batavia, my second in Paris 
René and Ricus in Holland. It all costs me money, 
i now my new Tiome circle' here. But now at 
t I have my circle. . . . It's a very In- 
1 kettle of fish, you'll say: thSt Indian quasi-mar- 
fc of the daughter of a coffee-overseer, with the 
woman and the little brothers and sisters included 
Jie bargain. But I'm doing a little good. The 
lily haven't a cent and I'm helping them. And Lena 
. dear child and is the comfort of my old age. 1 
't live without a wife; and so it happened of itself. 
. And it works very well: I lead a cab- 
e-life and drink first-rate coffee; an<f they look 
T the old man. . . ." 
le was silent and then continued: 
And you . . . you are going to Europe? 
)r Eldersma! I hope he'll be better soon. It's all 
fault, isn't it? I worked him too hard. But it's 
: that in India, mevrouw. We all work too hard 
e . . . until we stop working altogether, 
d you are going . . . in a week ? How glad 
I will be to see your father and mother and to hear 
d music ! I am still always grateful to you. You 
much for us, yoij stood for poetry in Labuwangi. 
)r India! How they rail at her! After all, the 
ntry can't help it that we freebooters have invaded 
T territory, barbarian conquerors, who only want 
g^row rich and get away! And then, when they 
't grow rich, they start railing: at the heat, which 
1 gave it from the beginning ; at the lack of nourish- 
it for mind and soul: mind and soul of the f rec- 
tor ! Tlie poor country that is railed at so must say 




298 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

in itself, *You could have stayed away !' And j 
. you didn't like India either/' 

"I tried to grasp the poetry of it. And now and ih 
I succeeded. For the rest, it's my fault, resident, z 
not the fault of this beautiful country. Like yo 
freebooter, I should have stayed away. All my depn 
sion, all the melancholy from which I suffered in tl 
beautiful land of mystery, is my fault. I dcm'trail 
India, resident.'* 

He took her hand and, almost with emotion, ate 
with a gleam of moisture in his eyes, said softly: 

"I thank you for saying so. Those words arc li 
you, the words of a sensible, cultivated woman, v 
doesn't rave and rant, as a silly Dutchman would 
not finding in this country exactly what correspod 
with his petty ideal. Your temperament suffered mt 
here, I know. It was bound to. But it was not 1 
fault of the country." 

"It was my own fault, resident," she repeated, v 
her soft, smiling voice. 

He thought her adorable. That she did not bu 
into imprecations, that she did not fly into ccstas 
because she was leaving Java in a few days gave l 
a sense of comfort. And when she rose to go, sayi 
that it was getting late, he felt very sad: 
'And so I shall never see you again?" 
I don't think that we shall be coming back." 
It's good-bye forever then!" 
Perhaps we shall see you in Europe." 

He made a gesture of denial : 

"I am more grateful to you than I can say fore 
ing to look the old man up. I shall drive with yo 
Garut." 



it 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 299 

He called out something indoors, where the 
omen were keeping out of sight and the little sisters 
iggling. He stepped into the carriage by her side, 
"hey drove down the avenue of ferns ; and suddenly 
icy saw the Sacred Lake of Lelies, overshadowed by 
le circling swirl of the kalongs ever flapping round 
dd round. 

"Resident," she whispered, "I feel it here, . . /' 

He smiled: 

*'They are only kalongs" he said. 

"But at Labuwangi ... it was perhaps only 
rat." 

He just wrinkled his brows; then he smiled again, 
ith the jovial smile, about his thick moustache, and 
oked up with inquisitive eyes: 

"What?" he said, softly. "Really? Do you feel it 
ïre?" 

"Yes." 

"Well. I don't. It's something different with cvery- 
kIv." 

The gigantic bats shrilled their triumph in shrieks of 
isolation. The little carriage drove on and passed a 
tie railway-halt. And, in the otherwise lonely region, 

was strange to see a whole populace, a swarm of 
otley Sundanese, streaming towards the little staticm^ 
igerly gazing at a slow train which was approaching, 
elching black clouds of smoke amidst the bamboos. 
M their eyes were staring crazily, as though antid- 
ating the bliss of the first glance, as though their first 
iiprcssion would be a treasure for their souls. 

**Tiiat's a train full of new hadjis," said Van 
►lulijck. "They're all pilgrims newly returned from 
[ccca." 




300 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

The train stopped; and from the long third-dai 
carriages, solemnly, slowly, very devoutly and ca 
scious of their dignity, the hadjis alighted, in their ric 
whitc-and-yellow turbans, their eyes gleaming witf 
pride, their lips pursed with conceit, in brand-oev 
shiny coats and gold-and-purple samaars^ which feDi 
stately folds to just above their feet. And, hnnmat 
with rapturous excitement, sometimes with a risingoj 
of ecstasy, the waiting multitude pressed closer»' 
stormed the narrow doorways of the long raihnf 
coaches. . . . The hadjis solemnly aligfatd 
And their brothers and friends vied with one anoto 
in grasping their hands and the hems of their gold-arf 
purple samaars and kissed that sacred hand or da 
sacred garment, because it brought them something <^ 
Mecca the Holy. They fought, they hustled one » 
other around the hadjis, to be the first to give the Ida 
And the hadjis, conceited and self-conscious, seenel 
unaware of the struggle, maintained a peaceful digni| 
and a solemn stateliness amid the struggle, amid tK 
billowing, buzzing multitude, and surrendered ttó 
hands, surrendered the hem of their garments to ft 
fanatical kiss of all who approached. 

And, in this land of profound, secret, slumberifll 
mystery, in this people of Java, which, as always, W 
itself in the secrecy of its impenetrable soul, supprcssa 
indeed, but visible, it was strange to see rising to ft 
surface an ccstasv, to see an intoxicated fanatidsiatt 
see a part of that impenetrable soul revealed in 't 
deification of those who had beheld the Prophrf 
tomb, to hear the soft humming of a religious raptul^ 
to hear, suddenly, unexpectedly, a shout of glory. ^ 

*Long garments hanging from the waist 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 301 

be suppressed, quavering on high, a cry which in- 
antly sank again, drowned in the hum, as though 
arful itself, because the sacred era had not yet ar- 
ired. . 

And Van Oudijck and Eva, on th,e road behind the 
ation, slowly driving past the busy multitude which 
ill buzzed about the had j is, respectfully carrying their 
gg^g^f obsequiously offering their little carts: Van 
udijck and Eva suddenly looked at each other and, 
cugh neither of them cared to express it in words, 
ey told each other, with a glance of tmderstanding, 
at they felt it, that they felt that, both of them, both 
g^ether this time, in the midst of this fanatical multi- 
de 

TThey both felt it, the imutterable thing, the thing 
mt lurks in the ground, that hisses under the volca- 
«s, that slowly draws near with thé far-travelled 
nds, that rushes onward with the rain, that rattles 

in the heavy, rolling thunder, that is wafted from 
5^ far horizon of the boimdlcss sea; the thing that 
shes from the black, mysterious gaze of the secre- 
e native, that creeps in his heart and cringes in his 
mble Iiarmat; the thing that gnaws like a poisoQ 
d a hostile force at the body, soul and life of the 
aropean, that silently attacks the conqueror and saps 
s energies, causing him to pine and perish, sapping 
s energies very slowly, so that he wastes away for 
sars ; and in the end he dies of it, perhaps by a sud- 
5n, tragic death: they both felt it, both felt the un- 
iterablc thing. . . . 

And, in feeling it, together with the sadness of their 
ave-taking, which was so near at hand, they failed 
fe see, amid the waving, billowing, buzzing multitude 




302 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

which reverently hustled the yellow-and-purplc di 
of the hadjis returned from Mecca, they failed t 
that one, tall, white hadji rising above the crowt 
peering with a grin at the man who, though ht 
lived his life in Java, had been weaker 
That. • . . 

THE END 




GLOSSARY 
of Malay terms 

A 

Custom, usage. 
' Oh my ! 

'Planda, Soda-water. 
-wangi. Toilet- water. 
kluar! Out of this, outside! 
minta! Oh, beg pardon! 
sudal Oh, enough! 
n^oon. Square. 
as. Cane-fibre. 

bole buatf What can one do? 
jaf Heavens! Oh dear! 
. Palm-leaf. 

B 
fe. Short, sleeved jacket (diminutive of kabaai), 
. Maid-servant. 
Ing. Squirrel. 
I'baleh. Bench, couch. 
ng tnandi. Bath-things. 
. Waxed and painted cotton. 
J. Bring. 
k. Rice-powder. 
, Seed. 
. No. 
g. Throw down. 

C 
^olleur-kotta. Local or district controller. 

D 

n. Palace. 

'deng. Pieces of meat dried in the sun. 

I. Village. 

. Seamstress. 

sa. Native magistrate. 

. Teak-wood. 

at. Talisman. 

\itulu Native writer. 

n. Native physician. 

. Incense. 




304 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

G 

Gajong, Scoop, bowl. 
Gamelan. Native orchestra. 
Galangan, Irrigation-dike. 
Gardoè, Native watchman. 
Grongrong. North-east wind. 
Gudang, Store-room, go-down. 

H 
Hortnat, Homage, cringing salutation. 

I 
Inten-inten. Diamonds. 

K 
Kabaat, kabaja. Long native jacket. 
Kahupaten. Native regent's palace. 
Kain-padjang, Long embroidered jacket 
Kali, River. 
Kalong. Bat. 
Kandjeng. Excellency. 
Kandjeng tuan. Excellency sahib. 
Kassian! Poor thing! 
Katjang-goreng. Roasted monkey-nuts. 
Kebon-kotta. Village garden, horticultural gaarden. 
Ketju. Robbery. 
Kakkte, Cook. 

KomediC'Stamboul. Malay Theatre. 
Kondé, Chignon. 
Kotta. District. 
Krandjang. Bamboo basket 
Kraton. Fortified palace. 
Kumpulan. Monthly council. 
Kwce-kzvces, Cakes, pastry. 

L 
Lampu, Lamp. 
Latta. A nervous disorder manifested by intense sni 

resulting in mimicry. 
Lidi. Coco-nut-fibre. 
Lodeh. Sauce for vegetables. 
Lombok. Chili. 
Liiak, Wild cat 

M 
Magang. Native clerk. 
Mandoor. Overseer. 
Mangistan. Mangosteen, a fruit 
Massa / Come, come! 
Mtnta apon. Beg pardon. 




THE HIDDEN FORCE 305 

N 
ija, Mem-sahib. 

17a hesar. Great lady, great mem-sahib, 
tuz. I>aughter of a European father and a native mother. 

O 
IS, Native contraction of the Dutch word opasser, native 
messenger. 
tg-blcmda. White people. 

P 
mg. Umbrella. 
jéran. Prince. 

mhagran. Guest-house, or dak-bungalow, for the nse of 
officials. 
'er. Market 

•er-fnalam. Evening market. 
h. Native councillor. 
iing. Clasp, buckle. 
ioppo. Roofed quadrangular space. 
mgan. Sacred prognostication of the future. 
er. Shrewd. 
ng. Bananas. 

ng goreng. Roasted bananas. 
^ianak. Ghost. 
:sa. Look and see. 

R 
buten. A fruit resembling the litchi. 
den. Resident. 
dinan. Residency. 

git. The EHitch rijksdaalder: dollar, 4s. 2d. 
ik. Unripe fruits, sliced and mixed with vinegar, soya and 
sugar. 

S 
>. Dog-cart, dos-è-dos. 

Yes. 
aar Long garment reaching from the waist to the feet 
bat. Condiments served with curries. 
ng. Native skirt. 
ih. Rice-field. 
ha. Sacrifice, offering. 
'?a. Obeisance, salaam. 

?. Son of a European father and a native mother. 
I. Betel-pepper, betel-juice. 
ir, A native card-game. 
:ct. Chinese gold embroidery. 
;. Butler. 

^1. Dancer at a native court, often a princess. 
ih. No matter, enough. 
pitan. Blow-pipe. 
I Fuss, trouble. 
éhunan. Emperor, sultan. 




306 THE HIDDEN FORCE 

T 
Tall^pi. Wick, slow-match. 
Tandak'giTl. Native dancing-girl, nautch-girL 
Tentu. To a certainty, surely. 
Tida. No. 
Tiker. Mat. 

Tjelaka. Woe, bad omen. 
Tjelanawonjet, Child's pyjamas. 
Tjikar, Little cart. 
Tjina mampoos. Chinaman dead. 
Tokkè, Gecko, large-headed lizard. 
Toko, Bazaar, store. 
Tong-tong. Hollow block of wood. 
Tukan-hcsie. Smith. 
Tukan-lampu, Lamp-boy. 
Tuan. Sahib, mem-sahib. 

U 
Ulck, A condiment made of Spanish pepper. 

W 

IVagang. Javanese puppet-show. 
IVaringin, Banjran. 
Wedono, Distncthead. 



3 393 ^^